Cody Johnson Opens Up About Finding Common Ground With Jelly Roll: ‘We Struggle With A Lot Of The Same Pressures’

Could a collaboration be in the works?


Madeleine O’Connell

| Posted on

June 14, 2023

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Cody Johnson, Jelly Roll; Photos by Andrew Wendowski

Cody Johnson and Jelly Roll may not appear to be a likely duo upon first glance, but when it comes down to the core of who they are, both artists spend each day trying to be the best versions of themselves for their family and fans who look up to them. 

While backstage of CMA Fest, Johnson opened up about the bond he’s formed with Jelly Roll, and even revealed that they are both open to collaborating one day. 

“Respect is mutual, and real recognizes real. So absolutely, we’ve talked about working together,” he shared, according to CMT.

Cody Johnson; Photo by Andrew Wendowski
Cody Johnson; Photo by Andrew Wendowski

Before he was a hit-making country music star, the Texas native was a competitive bull rider. However, as Johnson went on to explain, his journey hasn’t always been as clean-cut as it seems. Jelly Roll can relate to this on a slightly different level, as he was formerly incarcerated for drug dealing, but found a way to completely turn his life around.

“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.”

The “‘Til You Can’t” singer also has a history with the Texas State Penitentiary system. Instead of being incarnated, he followed in his dad’s footsteps and began working as a prison guard at 18 years old. 

While he and Jelly Roll have had plenty of different experiences throughout their lives, they’ve had the chance to come together and find common ground on the pressures of being in the music industry. Music may be the thing that pulled them both out of their past, but it still has a way of bringing in new challenges for them to face. 

“I have a very thick background on incarceration,” he explained. “Jelly did time. We’ve talked about that. We struggle with a lot of the same pressures. We put so much pressure on ourselves to be the best husband, to try to be the best father, 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.”

Both country stars have continued to take country music by storm. Jelly Roll recently unveiled his debut full-length country project, WHITSITT CHAPEL, and Johnson has revealed plans to drop his Second-Consecutive Double Album, Leather.

He broke the news during an interview with Audacy’s KMLE Country 107.9 at Country Thunder in Arizona and explained that his next double album will feature 24 tracks titled Cody Johnson: Leather

“I wanna go ahead and sneak peek, I’m working on a new double album,” Johnson began.

The Texas native beamed with pride as he went on to tack high expectations onto the forthcoming 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,” he continued “Each album should outdo the last one.”

This collection will serve as a follow-up to 2021’s, Human, which featured a total of 18 tracks including chart-topping hits “‘Til You Can’t” and his current single “Human.”

“There’s some fun stuff,” he added. “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 kinda 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.”

While the exact release date has yet to be shared, Johnson said that fans can expect “maybe by the end of the year, maybe next year.”

One thing that is known is that the project will feature a duet with fellow country star, Carrie Underwood. 

“I actually just recorded a duet with her yesterday for my new album coming out,” the “Dance Her Home” told Cody Alan on CMT Hot 20 Countdown. 

Cody Johnson; Getty Images for iHeartRadio, Carrie Underwood; Photo by Jeff Johnson
Cody Johnson; Getty Images for iHeartRadio, Carrie Underwood; Photo by Jeff Johnson

Cody Johnson is currently in the midst of his Cody Johnson & Friends Tour, which kicked off on January 20 in Lafayette, LA with Randy Houser. 

Once he wraps up his run of U.S. dates on August 5 in Sweet Home, OR, the singer will join Luke Combs for the international leg of his massive 2023 World Tour. Picking things back up August 9, this trek will bring Johnson to Australia and New Zealand. 

Johnson is also scheduled to perform at several festivals this year including Sistrunk Farms Auburn Rodeo, Scope Arena Patriotic Festival, Winstock Country Music Fest, Country Jam, Nebraskaland Days, Country Stampede, Country Thunder Wisconsin, Cheyanne Frontier Days and more.

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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.