Cody Johnson stunned the crowd during the recent CMA Fest, when he was joined by Reba McEntire to sing a duet of her 1986 hit, “Whoever’s in New England.” Their duet was part of the recent CMA Fest TV special.
Ahead of their performance, Johnson praised McEntire, who he said has become a close confidant of his, especially at this point in his career.
“We sang in the studio together, when we recorded ‘Dear Rodeo,’ which was really incredible,” Johnson said. “That was the first time I ever met Reba. And since then, we’ve developed a really good, working, professional relationship, to where she’s the kind of person where if I need something, I can pick up the phone and she answers. That’s a huge deal, because she’s Reba, and I am nowhere near that.”
“I actually just recorded a duet with her yesterday for my new album coming out,” Johnson revealed at the CMT Music Awards last month, where he won the trophy for Performance of the Year. “And getting to know her — man, she’s such a pro and everybody that she surrounds herself with are all very professional, as well. So I don’t mean this to sound bad, but it’s kind of hard to compete with that.”
“Respect is mutual, and real recognizes real. So absolutely, we’ve talked about working together,” Johnson said backstage at CMA Fest (via Taste of Country).
“You guys may not look at me and realize this, but I have a pretty jaded past as well,” Johnson continued. “I’ve always said there was a time in my life where I had to make a decision, and that decision was either to chase this dream professionally, with a good mindset. There’s a few mistakes that I’ve made in my life — there’s a few decisions I’ve made in my life where I could have wound up here, or I very well could have wound up in jail.”
Perhaps ironically, Johnson worked in prisons, while Jelly Roll did time in them. But Johnson insists their similarities far outweigh any differences they might have.
“We struggle with a lot of the same pressures of, we put so much pressure on ourselves to be the best husband, to try to be the best father, for our [bands], to try to be the best leader, to be the best performer…it’s almost like a blessing and a curse, because we put so much on ourselves,” he said.
“I relate to him, and he relates to me,” he added. “We’re so opposite; you got the cowboy hat and the face tattoos. I think it’s just an opposites attract kind of thing.”
The CMA Fest TV special is streaming now on Hulu.
Photo Credit: Courtesy of CMA / Natasha Moustache