Cody Johnson Earns Second No. 1 With ‘The Painter,’ Confirms Expanded Album Release

COJO fans get excited because new music is coming this fall, according to the man himself.


Madeleine O’Connell

| Posted on

March 4, 2024

Share on:

Cody Johnson; Photo by Andrew Wendowski

Cody Johnson started off the year on a strong note as his love-filled, gold-certified single, “The Painter” found its way inside the Top 10 at country radio. This week, the tune’s success continues as it has risen all the way to the No. 1 spot, marking his second leader on Billboard’s Country Airplay chart following “‘Til You Can’t.”

“The Painter” is also the Music/Warner Music Nashville recording artist’s biggest streaming single of his career with 200 million global streams to date.

YouTube video

What Was The Inspiration Behind ‘The Painter’?

Written by Benjy Davis, Kat Higgins, and Ryan Larkins and produced by Trent Willmon, this song gave fans their first look into Johnson’s latest 12-track studio album, Leather, which dropped in November of 2023. 

Although he didn’t have a hand in writing the heartfelt lyrics, Johnson was able to easily relate to the message as it pays tribute to that special person in life who never fails to be a brightness in challenging times. Both his 2023 CMA performance of “The Painter” as well as the just-released music video confirm that the special person in Johnson’s life is his wife, Brandi. She has been by his side, motivating him to be the best version of himself throughout his days of professional bull riding and even now as a country music star.   

Cody Johnson, Brandi; Photo Courtesy of CMA
Cody Johnson, Brandi; Photo Courtesy of CMA

The narrative of the song was actually inspired by songwriter Ryan Larkins’ wife, who he said, “has believed in me and encouraged me on this journey for the past 15 years.” Upon hearing the news of the song’s top-charting success, Larkins took to social media to reflect on earning his first No. 1 as a songwriter.  

His caption read, “Y’all, this still doesn’t seem real. “The Painter” is my first #1 as a songwriter and this one is so special to me because the idea was inspired by my wife who has believed in me and encouraged me on this journey for the past 15 years. This is such a dream come true for me and for my family.”

He then went on to thank everyone who played a part in bringing this song to life including his co-writers on the song, and of course Cody Johnson.

In addition to “The Painter,” several of the other tracks on the Leather album have also caught the attention of fans and country radio, including the Texas native’s latest single, “Dirt Cheap.” This track is currently impacting country radio and has racked up nearly 55 million global streams with an average of 3.4 million streams per week.

The Completed Double Album Is Coming This Fall

Prior to releasing this brand-new collection, Johnson teased that these songs mark the first half of a double album, which will include 12 additional songs, making for a total of 24 tracks. He had initially told Country Now that the deluxe edition would be unveiled sometime this summer, however, during a recent performance at Nashville’s Country Radio Seminar, he confirmed that it will be released in fall of 2024. 

“I was in the studio all day yesterday. Leather: The Deluxe Edition is officially done and you’ll have it this fall,” he shared with the room full of music industry executives and radio personalities. 

Leather; Cover photo by Chris Douglas, Brad Henderson
Leather; Cover photo by Chris Douglas, Brad Henderson

Collaborations On The Horizon

The first set of songs included collaborations with artists like Jelly Roll and Brooks & Dunn. Fans had initially thought Johnson’s previously teased duet with Carrie Underwood would also make an appearance, however, the song did not end up making the cut. 

While on stage at the Omni in Nashville, Johnson raised excitement for even more collaborations in the works as he revealed plans to get into the studio and record a duet with Canadian musical icon, Terri Clark. It’s unclear whether or not either of these duets will appear on the second half of the double album, or if they will appear on a separate project.  

Letting The Fans Take The Lead

The track list for the next set of tunes has yet to be unveiled, however, Johnson did tell Canada’s Pure Country Radio that when choosing which songs would make the cut, he decided to let the fans be in charge. 

“There’s a deluxe edition coming next year with 12 more tracks. This body of work is a little bit unique in the fact that I wanted to give the listener, give the fan a little bit of time to get to know these songs,” he shared. 

Cody Johnson; Photo by Chris Douglas
Cody Johnson; Photo by Chris Douglas

This approach gave Johnson the chance to build out a collection that he knows will hold up well among his listeners. He continued to explain his approach as he said, “Let’s not make a plan of that’s the next single, and that’s the next single. Let’s see what happens…see what streams, see what reacts at live shows, and let the songs battle it out for themselves instead of us making a plan based on an algorithm that’s going to work.”

This will serve as Johnson’s second consecutive double album, following his October 2021 project, Human, which featured a total of 18 tracks including the chart-topping hit “‘Til You Can’t” and his fan-favorite, “Human.”

Cody Johnson is set to continue his headline The Leather Tour on March 15 in Indianapolis at the Gainbridge Fieldhouse.

Share on:

Madeleine O’Connell graduated from North Central College with a bachelors degree in Journalism and Broadcast Communications before deciding to pursue her studies further at DePaul University. There, she earned her masters degree in Digital Communication & Media Arts. O’Connell served as a freelance writer for over two years while also interning with the Academy of Country Music, SiriusXM and Circle Media and assisting with Amazon Music’s Country Heat Weekly podcast. In addition to Country Now, she has been published in American Songwriter, Music Mayhem, and Holler.Country. Madeleine O’Connell is a member of the Country Music Association and the Academy of Country Music.