Cody Johnson Pays Tribute to His Wife Brandi in ‘The Painter’ [LISTEN]

Cody Johnson is honoring his wife, Brandi, with his new single, “The Painter,” out now. The song, written by Benjy Davis, Kat Higgins and Ryan Larkins, is from Johnson’s forthcoming new Leather album.

Although Johnson didn’t write “The Painter,” he knew right away he wanted to release it, as a way to pay tribute to his wife, Brandi, whom he credits with his now-soaring music career, convincing him to keep going when he wanted to give up.

“There’s always been start agains,’ Johnson reflects to Apple Music’ Country’s Today’s Country Radio with Kelleigh Bannen. “In my music career, you get to the point where you’re like, ‘I don’t know if I can do this anymore. I’ve been traveling up and down the roads making $100 a night in a van and can’t afford to put gas in it.’ And she’s going, ‘Yes, you can. You left your steady job for a reason and yes, you can do it.’ And so it’s like you start again.”

“The Painter” applies to Brandi’s role in her husband’s career, but the singer-songwriter says it also applies to their marriage as well, especially as they navigate their relationship and parenting with his demanding schedule.

“There have been times where we’ve had to stop, regroup with each other, and go, ‘Hey, we’re not going anywhere, so let’s just pick this stopping point right here,'” Johnson shares. “‘Let’s start over and say, ‘We’re going to approach this together because we know that it’s what’s supposed to happen.” I think that that’s a very vulnerable line and also, it brings to light for me how a man should take the time to stop and recognize the fact that she can make you remember what’s right and what’s wrong.”

The former rodeo star and prison guard might be tough, but Brandi has him beat, he says, when it comes to dealing with hard things.

“She’s tougher than I am, but you kind of have to be a little tough if you’re going to be with me,” Johnson maintains. “It’s not all frills and rainbows. But she’s definitely the motor behind a lot of this, and I admit that. There are times where I come home and I’m like, ‘I am so overwhelmed. There’s so much going, and it’s all good stuff. I’m releasing a record. I’m going out of the country to go play. We’re on this award show and we’re traveling to here, and I just can’t take it anymore.’ And she’s going, ‘Yeah, you can. You’re doing a great job.'”


As soon as Johnson heard “The Painter,” he realized it perfectly described his relationship with Brandi.

“My favorite lyric in ‘The Painter’ is ‘for every wall I built, she saw a canvas.’ If there’s anything that describes my marriage with my wife, Brandi, it’s that line,” Johnson explains. “And that’s why we’ve been together for 15 years.”

“I hope my fans are encouraged to take the time to appreciate the people they have around them,” he adds. “The ones who make their life beautiful and bring all the beautiful colors to their world when it could just be black and white and dark. Remember them and tell them you love them.”

Although Johnson hasn’t revealed a song list or release date for Leather, he does say he is incredibly proud of the entire project.

“This round of 24 songs I have to say is the best round of songs I have ever recorded, and I feel like that’s the way it should be,” Johnson previously told Audacy’s KMLE Country 107.9. “Each album should outdo the last one. There’s some fun stuff, I think the theme of this new album is fun. It doesn’t matter whether it’s a ballad or whether it’s tongue-in-cheek kind of fun. It all has to be fun, it all has to make you kind of want to move around and bob your head a little bit.”

Leather also includes a duet with  Carrie Underwood. Find all of Johnson’s music and upcoming shows at