Cody Johnson On Releasing A Prison Song: “I’ve Never Addressed The Dark Side Of What Happens In Prison… But It Will Happen”

A man wearing a cowboy hat

With the release of Cody Johnson’s Dear Rodeo documentary coming out, we’ll finally get the chance to take a deep dive into the cowboy lifestyle that molded the star singer into the man he is today.

However, the man himself recently sat down for an interview with Cowboys & Indians, and he gave us an look into his early days and the path that ultimately led him to country music stardom.

He’s always been vocal about how he was never raised in the cowboy lifestyle, and he decided to pursue his dream of riding bulls on his own. The most surprising part of the interview, though, came when he talked about working in the prison system before chasing his dream of country music stardom:

“I was around the prison system my entire life because my dad worked there for 32 years. I started there when I was 18, just because that’s what my dad did… I worked in intake first, and it was an eye opening experience.

Then I moved to the Goree unit– a sexual-offender treatment program unit– and then I worked in maximum security. And then I rode horses as a field boss.

Eventually, the warden sat me down and said, ‘You need to quit this job and go play music. You’re already playing so many gigs that you’re having trouble showing up for work on time. You just need to go. Prison will always be here.'”

Johnson then went on to say that at some point in his career, he’ll write about his experiences working in the prison system, and the darkness that he saw while he was there:

“I think that the prison stuff will probably show up in my writing later on. It’s much like how the bull-riding stuff happened, and then years later after I’d let it go, I addressed in the song ‘Dear Rodeo.’

But I’ve never addressed the dark side of what happens in prison, just because I would have to address things within myself. But it will happen. Songwriting’s always done that for me.”

I mean, prison tunes are a staple in country music so it will be great to eventually hear one from a man that lived it on the inside.

CoJo’s upcoming double album Human, featuring the lead single “Til You Can’t,” is set for release on October 8th.

A beer bottle on a dock



A beer bottle on a dock