With CMT Awards Win, Cody Johnson Says the ‘Pendulum’ Is Swinging

“This is 15 years of hard work,” Johnson said.

Written by Chris Parton
With CMT Awards Win, Cody Johnson Says the ‘Pendulum’ Is Swinging
Cody Johnson; Photo courtesy of Warner Music Nashville

After emerging as one of the 2022 CMT Music Awards’ big winners, trad-country stalwart Cody Johnson reached a new and long-in-the-making pinnacle on Monday night (April 11). The Texas native had been scoring independent hits and drawing massive crowds for more than a decade when he finally signed to a major Nashville record label a few years back — and it seems like his dues are officially paid up.

With all the new exposure Johnson’s Nashville partnership has added, countless new believers are in his corner, helping the authentic cattle hand take home two “belt buckles” at the CMT’s: CMT Digital-First Performance of the Year for “Dear Rodeo” (from CMT Campfires Sessions), and one of the night’s premiere awards, Male Video of the Year for “’Til You Can’t.” Johnson also go to perform on the show’s outdoor stage, playing to a national audience on CBS and Paramount+, and spoke to CMT afterwards about how his hard work has paid off.

“My goal with this is to take what I do with my authentic brand of country music that I’ve spent my life developing, and take it to people that may not have had the opportunity to hear it,” Johnson told the outlet. “The CMT Awards is an opportunity to be on national television and say, ’Hey, this cowboy hat is not fake. This belt buckle is not fake. This voice and this presentation, it’s not fake. I think hard work and perseverance are something we lack in society. That’s something that “’Til You Can’t” personifies.”

“‘Til You Can’t” was written by Ben Stennis and Matt Rogers and came out in October of 2021 (alongside the award winning video), and is now Johnson’s first Number One at country radio … although he’s no rookie artist. Johnson released his first album independently back in 2006, seeking to make old-school country music that still sounds “country” no matter what the mainstream was doing. It just seems like the mainstream might be branching off, back in his direction.

“This is 15 years of hard work,” Johnson said. “To even get the opportunity to play it, it’s great. That means what we’re doing is working in country music. My brand of country music is somehow being accepted into that pendulum swing.”