Fans who think the traditional country music that they've always loved is dead and gone just haven't been listening to the right artist. Cody Johnson is one young performer who's proving the genre is alive and well with the release of his new album, Gotta Be Me.

Johnson is a bit of an overnight sensation, only it didn't happen overnight. After a stint as a real-life rodeo rider — which left him with a long list of broken bones, as well as the oversized buckle he wears —  the artist turned his attention to music full-time, deciding to take a shot at his dreams after learning multiple instruments in his youth and playing part-time for years.

His traditional vibe has caught on with audiences across the country, and in January of 2014 he stunned the Music Row powers that be in Nashville when his Cowboy Like Me album debuted in the Top 10 of Billboard's Country Albums chart, prompting labels all over town to suddenly become aware of him.

“I got a lot of ‘Who is this kid?’” Johnson says, laughing. “I love that. That was
a new horizon. And I’m gonna work to make sure people know exactly who I am.”

He's done exactly that. In the time since then, Johnson has had more than 80 million streams of his music online, generated a million dollars worth of music sales and sold out shows across the country, all without the support of a major label. He's looking to go even bigger with Gotta Be Me, which is set for release on Aug. 5, but he's not compromising the style that got him where he is one bit.

“I’m a God-fearin’, hard-workin’, beer-drinkin’, fightin’, lovin’ cowboy from Texas,” he states. “That’s about it.”

The new album highlights all of those qualities and features a large number of Johnson's original songs, as well as offerings from top Nashville writers including David Lee, Shane Minor, Jeffrey Steele and John and TJ Osborne. Texas country star Randy Rogers also contributed to a track.

The "lovin'" side of Johnson is the focus of "I Ain't Going Nowhere Baby," a mid-tempo ballad that's built around simple acoustic guitar chords and a haunting vocal performance that's somewhat reminiscent of the softer side of Travis Tritt.

The song is premiering at Taste of Country before Gotta Be Me even sees official release, but fans can pre-order the album at iTunes. Gotta Be Me is set for release on Friday (Aug. 5) via Johnson's own CoJo Music imprint.

Listen to Cody Johnson, "I Ain't Going Nowhere Baby"

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