When you become a popular country music star, the best songwriters start sending you songs. The bigger you get, the less you have to write. Don’t get me wrong, plenty of big artists still write their own stuff, but if you’re big enough and you want to, you can pick out the tracks you like and record them for an album. That’s why when you take a look at the charts right now, you’ll find the same names over and over again behind many of the most popular songs in country music. It’s a big oversimplification, but it’s pretty much the way it works.
However if you’re Cody Johnson, you’re not looking for songs from Nashville’s biggest songwriters right now, no Cody is looking for something a little different. Something from (in my humble opinion) the golden era of country music. Something from the ’90s.
According to Billboard, Cody and his team are actively seeking out country songs that written prior to 2000 for his next record.
“What Cody is drawn to is a more classic lyric,” says Scott Gunter, a Durango Management A&R executive. “It’s classic songwriting without the current terminology, without the current phrasing.”
“I’ve never had that request before,” says independent song plugger Sherrill Blackman. “That’s what made it so intriguing: that they don’t want any of the modern stuff. Scott was in publishing for years. He knows — as we all know — there are some great songs tucked away in these catalogs, and it’s going to take some of the older people that have been around to know how to find them.”
Artists like Luke Combs, Jon Pardi, Midland,Ashley McBryde, and Cody himself, have all seen their stock jump massively in the past year and it’s not hard to see why. Right now, the artists I just mentioned are doing the best job of bridging the gap between the old and the new. They’re bringing back the feel of those ’90s country songs that many of us grew up on and still love, but at the same time, they still sound fresh and relevant to our lives today.
So that being said, it’s not a surprise to hear that Cody is looking back to the ’80s and ’90s for some hidden gems. All I can say is that I hope he finds some.