During his 2023 appearance at Country Thunder Arizona 2023, the genre's neo-traditional chart-topper, Cody Johnson, gave his fans the news they'd been waiting for since October 2021.
In an interview with KMLE Country 107.9 in Florence, Arizona, Cody confirmed that his follow-up to 2021's Human was on the way, and that it would be another double-album called Leather.
Now, we have an official release date lined up, with Leather set to drop on November 3 2023. The eagerly awaited project will include new singles, ‘Work Boots’ and ‘Watching My Old Flame’, as well as Johnson's previously released ode to his wife, Brandi, ‘The Painter’.
‘Watching My Old Flame’ is a cleverly written ballad in the mould of ‘I Always Wanted To’ and ‘Sad Songs and Waltzes’, with Cody Johnson expressing the anguish he feels seeing his ex around town (“It's the hardest thing / Watching my old flame / Go out”.
Although we're still keenly awaiting a full Leather tracklist, the ‘Til You Can't’ hitmaker has since offered a number of interesting nuggets of information about the upcoming record.
Aside from revealing that - like Human - it'll be a double-album, Cody also announced that each of the 24 songs would be underpinned by a theme of ‘fun’ and levity. In a conversation with Spencer Graves, Cody shared that the lead single from the project will be called ‘The Painter’, which was sent to Country Radio on August 14, with the album then due to arrive in November 3 2023.
However, judging by the pre-save information on streaming platforms, we'll only be getting half the double-album in November, with only 12 songs listed on Apple Music and Spotify. We imagine this will be followed up with the Leather sequel in early 2024.
In addition to ‘The Painter’, Cody Johnson teased a blockbuster duet with Carrie Underwood back in March, which will no doubt feature on Leather. This will hopefully be joined by a genre-blending collaboration with Jelly Roll, with Cody speaking about the mutual admiration between the two country trailblazers in June.
With the Texas troubadour in the middle of his 2023 tour at the moment, he's been taking the opportunity to test out an unreleased song every so often in front of the live audiences.
One such track is ‘Over Missing You’, which finds Cody Johnson opening up about how much he wishes he could return home from the road. It features a range of witty wordplay, and follows in the sonic footsteps of trademark CoJo ballads such as ‘On My Way to You’.
We're expecting ‘Over Missing You’ to make its way onto the Leather tracklist, with Cody having performed the wistful ode to absent love on a number of recent tour stops.
With ‘The Painter’, ‘Work Boots’ and ‘Watching My Old Flame’ all confirmed for the upcoming album, we still have 21 blank spaces on the Leather tracklist to fill - which means Cody Johnson fans can look forward to a whole lot of new music to come in the not-so-distant future.
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