Album - Cody Johnson - Leather
news

‘Long Live Country Music’ by Cody Johnson & Brooks & Dunn

November 3, 2023 12:01 am GMT
Last Edited December 18, 2023 9:34 pm GMT

t-logo
f-logo
email logo
link icon

Link copied

Cody Johnson and Brooks & Dunn - ‘Long Live Country Music’

Label: CoJo Music / Warner Music Nashville

Release Date: November 3rd 2023

Album: Leather

Producers: Trent Willmon

Songwriters: Phil O'Donnell, Wade Kirby & Trent Willmon

The Background:

One of two blockbuster collaborations appearing on Cody Johnson's 2023 album, Leather, ‘Long Live Country Music’ finds CoJo teaming up with genre legends, Brooks & Dunn.

Throughout the uplifting, celebratory anthem, the three artists trade lyrics detailing their favourite elements of the genre, before agreeing they never want classic country music to die out.

Given CoJo's penchant for traditional-leaning country and Brooks & Dunn's status as two icons from a golden era of the genre, this collaboration made sense from the get-go. It's the second time Cody Johnson, Kix Brooks and Ronnie Dunn have teamed up, with the trio releasing ‘Red Dirt Road’ as part of Brooks & Dunn's 2019 Reboot album.

Keep an eye out for Cody Johnson's heartwarming homage to his collaborators in the second verse, during which he croons, “Here’s to that teenage kid learning B&D songs on an ol’ pawn shop six string / With a head full of honky tonk dreams”.

The Sound:

With a driving, energising drum beat, a joyously twangy guitar, an electrifying fiddle and a healthy dose of steel, ‘Long Live Country Music’ feels tailor-made to be a future Country Radio hit.

Cody Johnson's deep, commanding vocals combine seamlessly with Brooks & Dunn's distinctive harmonies, with the three artists’ chemistry radiating warmly throughout each verse.

The unashamedly traditional instrumentation feels as though it's been plucked straight from an old-school country classic, with ‘Long Live Country Music’ fulfilling CoJo's objective to make the new album much more ‘fun’ and light-hearted than previous projects.

The Meaning:

“Long live Patsy Cline, strawberry wine, fiddles and a steel guitar

Long live needle drops, in a jukebox, in a hole in the wall dive bar

Long live late night drives in a short bed Chevy, holdin’ that pretty girl close

Listenin to the radio”

‘Long Live Country Music’ is peppered with references to legends of the genre and tips of the Stetson to iconic songs, from Patsy Cline to Deana Carter's 1996 hit, ‘Strawberry Wine’.

The protagonists pay tribute to the ideal setting for some good ol’ fashioned country music - to quote Brooks & Dunn, “a rundown bar 'cross the railroad tracks”, as long as it's home to either a record-player or a jukebox packed with some stellar country tunes.

“Long live country music

Long Live Long Necks, barstools, neon Saturday nights

Long Live Country Music

May that three chord dirt road soundtrack to our lives... never die”

The titular line was inspired by the speech Cody Johnson gave after winning the 2022 CMT Male Video of the Year award, at the end of which he exclaimed, “Long live country music”.

He celebrates the endless inspiration provided by ice-cold longneck beers (we're looking at you, Luke Combs), the lonesome bar-stool and the escapist delight of basking under the neon moon.

By portraying country music as his ‘three chord dirt road soundtrack’, CoJo is referencing the idea that the best, most authentic songs in the genre revolve around “three chords and the truth”.

“Long live Rodeos, dusty boot soles, two stepping on a hardwood floor

Long live the cover band, rollin in a white Van, kickin off Swingin Doors

Here’s to that teenage kid learning B&D songs on an ol pawn shop six string, with a head full of honky tonk dreams”

Cody Johnson includes a nod to his former career as a rodeo rider, as well as toasting the lifestyle of a touring, up-and-coming musician who has to drive from city to city in a rusty old van.

CoJo then mentions the swingin’ doors of a Texas saloon, which could also be a reference to Merle Haggard and Willie Nelson's much-loved 2006 track of the same name.

Here we get a trademark moment of class from Cody Johnson, as he pays respect to the influence Brooks & Dunn have had on his career, recalling how he'd learn all their songs on his pawn-shop guitar when he was first starting to explore his musicality.

“Here’s to the troubadours that tip their hats to the Hanks that came before them

May that Grand Ole Opry Circle Be Unbroken”

These feel like pivotal lines in ‘Long Live Country Music’, with Cody Johnson and Brooks & Dunn emphasising the unique importance the genre places on its artists honouring their forefathers.

In the spirit of CoJo's earlier Brooks & Dunn homage, he encourages his fellow ‘troubadours’ to preserve the legacies left by Hank Williams and his son, Hank Williams Jr.

Brooks & Dunn echo Cody Johnson's sentiments by referencing the famous Ada R. Habershon and Charles H. Gabriel hymn, ‘Will The Circle Be Unbroken?’. This has been cited a number of times in relation to the Grand Ole Opry's hallowed wooden circle, in which artists stand when performing, with Brooks & Dunn's line emphasising one final time their hope that country music never dies.

What has Cody Johnson said about ‘Long Live Country Music’?

While chatting to Billboard before Leather had been released, Cody Johnson delved into the way ‘Long Live Country Music’ came about, “At the end of the [CMT Male Video of the Year] speech, I said, ‘Long live country music,’ and that night Trent called me about writing a song with that title. It ended up being a perfect fit for me”.

The 2023 Grammy-winner went on to explain, “I reached out to Ronnie and said, ‘Would you and Kix be cool with doing this? We have a country music anthem here and if anybody can fly the flag of ‘Long Live Country Music,’ it’s Brooks & Dunn.’ We recorded this the same day I recorded with Jelly Roll. We also did a track with Randy Houser that day, and I think he might be holding onto that song”.

For the full lyrics to Cody Johnson and Brooks & Dunn's ‘Long Live Country Music’, see below:

“Long live Patsy Cline, strawberry wine, fiddles and a steel guitar

Long live needle drops, in a jukebox, in a hole in the wall dive bar

Long live late night drives in a short bed Chevy, holdin’ that pretty girl close

Listenin to the radio

Long live country music

Long Live Long Necks, barstools, neon Saturday nights

Long Live Country Music

May that three chord dirt road soundtrack to our lives... never die

Long live Rodeos, dusty boot soles, two stepping on a hardwood floor

Long live the cover band, rollin in a white Van, kickin off Swingin Doors

Here’s to that teenage kid learning B&D songs on an ol pawn shop six string, with a head full of honky tonk dreams

Long live country music

Long Live Long Necks, barstools, neon Saturday nights

Long Live Country Music

May that three chord dirt road soundtrack to our lives...oh never die

Here’s to the troubadours that tip their hats to the Hanks that came before them

May that Grand Ole Opry Circle Be Unbroken

Long live country music

Long Live Cowboys, Cowgirls, neon Saturday nights

Long Live Country Music

May that three chord dirt road soundtrack to our lives... never die

Long live country music

Long live country music”

For more on Cody Johnson, see below:

Written by Maxim Mower
Author - Cody Johnson
Cody Johnson
Artist
Author - undefined
Brooks & Dunn
Artist