Cody Johnson is bringing his family's Texas cowboy Christmas to CMT this year through a new Christmas special.
"CMT PRESENTS: A CODY JOHNSON CHRISTMAS" will air 9p/8c Wednesday, Dec. 13, on CMT.
Johnson and his family invite viewers into their family traditions, share their favorite holiday memories and Johnson performs an assortment of timeless Christmas songs.
CMT's Margaret Comeaux and Taillight TV's Tom Forrest serve as Executive Producers on "CMT Presents: A Cody Johnson Christmas." Jackie Barba and Heather D. Graffagnino are Executives in Charge of Production. Leslie Fram is Executive in Charge of Talent.
Johnson's Christmas special with CMT comes on the heels of his third major label studio album "Leather," which was released last month and came as a surprise to his Warner Music Nashville team as well as his producer Trent Willmon and engineer Jack Clark.
The singer, most known for songs including "Til You Can't," "On My Way To You" and "Human," said he had a year and a half of freedom and creativity with no agenda. He wasn't trying to please his record label or country radio and decided to go in on his own and make "Leather." The album is home to songs including his current single "The Painter," which reminded him of his wife, Brandi, along with "Long Live Country Music" (feat. Brooks & Dunn)," "Whiskey Bent" (feat. Jelly Roll)," the album's title track and "Watching My Old Flame," which is so country it reminded Johnson of the George Jones classic, "He Stopped Loving Her Today."
Written by Kat Higgins, Wynn Varble and Clint Daniels, "Watching My Old Flame" was inspired by Daniels' experience with divorce.
Johnson said that when Daniels divorced his wife, the couple tried to be civil and still lived together while they straightened out their finances.
"She had already started seeing somebody else," Johnson explained. "He said, 'I watched her go out.' And I'm like, 'Whoa, that is serious. You can't make that up. That's real country music."
But every song on the album isn't a heartbreaker. Johnson recorded more than 12 songs for this project, but he didn't want to release another double album. So, he opted to release 12 now and plans to release the rest later. He chose the current dozen tracks because they are the best representation of how he feels creatively at the moment.
"I want to be able to sing songs that make me feel good … like 'Work Boots,'" Johnson said.
Then he continued: "I want to sing a song that makes you want to pour a glass of whiskey, like 'Double Down.' I want to take you back to where I come from in Texas with 'Dirt Cheap.' I want you to understand how I feel about being a rancher. 'Jesus Loves You' is dark, a place that I've never really showed anybody that I have. 'Whiskey Bent' is still in that same vein, and I got to share that song with my new friend Jelly Roll, which is awesome."
He said "Leather" is a cowboy song he thinks George Strait would have recorded in 1995. He explained "People In The Back" is for his Live crowd, that "Long Live Country Music" is exactly how he feels about the genre, and that "Make Me a Mop" is a prayer that he'll probably pray every day for the rest of his life.
"This is where Cody Johnson is in his life personally and creatively," he said. "Now, next year, you're going to get the second half, and it's going to be the deluxe edition. We'll talk about that Cody then."
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