Cody Johnson Makes Surprise Appearance With Jelly Roll At Houston Rodeo For First Live Performance Of “Whiskey Bent”

Cody Johnson Jelly Roll
Delilah R. Gonzalez

Helluva surprise for attendees of RODEOHOUSTON last night.

Rodeo season is in full swing in south Texas, and each night, the NRG Stadium is filled with fans to watch some of the sport’s best athletes and, of course, be wowed by some incredible musical performances.

Last night, Jelly Roll took to the star-shaped stage, hitting a career milestone as he told the crowd this was his largest show to date. While he was soaking up the moment singing for the packed stadium, Jelly Roll made the night even more memorable for those in the crowd with a huge surprise.

During his set, he brought out Texas native Cody Johnson.

The stadium erupted in applause and cheers for a solid minute before quieting barely enough for Jelly Roll to pick back up the mic.


Behind the scenes, Cody Johnson has been one of my best friends in country music since I came to country music. He’s been a big brother.

He has been my favorite person to talk to at 2 o’clock in the morning…we will talk about life, God, and the beauty of the country music business and how much we both love country music…”

At this point, Jelly Roll sounds like a little kid who is jacked up on Halloween candy. He is talking so fast, and you can tell how excited he was to share the stage with his friend and pull off this surprise appearance. I swear it sounds like he delivered his introduction of Johnson in one breath.

After the two get situated on stage, Jelly Roll tells the crowd they are going to perform their duet “Whiskey Bent,” which appears on Johnson’s latest album, LeatherThis performance becomes even more special when Jelly Roll notes that this is the first time the song has seen a stage.

With the two men sitting on stools at the center of the stage, you know that his performance is about to be mind-blowing, and it was. The song’s acoustic intro showcases Johnson’s deep and smooth vocals as he sings the heartbreak lyrics.

“Made be say some things I shouldn’t
Made me break some things I wouldn’t
Like the heart that you kept puttin’ in my hand

Got me pickin’ up the pieces
Gettin’ back in touch with Jesus
For some grace in case one of y’all comes back again
I’m just tryin’ to straighten up what whiskey bent…”

During Jelly Roll’s verse, the pedal steel guitar matches with the twangs of his lines, and fans in the stadium look moved by his vocal delivery. It’s a softer side of Jelly Roll compared to his belting vocals on tracks like “Need A Favor.”

After the song ends, Johnson stands up and embraces Jelly Roll. The two relish in the moment, and the stadium roars with applause.

Jelly Roll and Cody Johnson took the crowd of RODEOHOUSTON to church at NRG Stadium last night.



A beer bottle on a dock



A beer bottle on a dock