Cody Johnson’s Christmas Album Will Feature Willie Nelson, Merle Haggard Classics
Cody Johnson did not slow down during the COVID-19 slowdown. In addition to a double album and documentary, he also recorded a Christmas album, set for release this fall.
A Cody Johnson Christmas will drop on Nov. 19 and include two new original songs and several familiar standards, plus two tributes to his heroes. Willie Nelson's "Pretty Paper" and Merle Haggard's "If We Make It Through December" are among the new album's tracks.
"That’s a Christmas song, by the way," Johnson tells Taste of Country Nights of the Haggard original. "You put some jingle bells on anything, it’s a Christmas song."
Nelson also appears on Johnson's new Human: The Double Album to sing "Sad Songs and Waltzes" with Johnson. The legend isn't featured on the holiday project, but his harmonica player, Mickey Raphael, is.
"Stuff like that, you tip your hat to the man," Johnson says. "You don’t change it up a whole lot.”
He will tweak songs like "White Christmas" and "I'll Be Home for Christmas," giving both a Dean Martin feel that will be different for his longtime fans. He compares his cover of "Santa Clause Is Back in Town" (Elvis Presley) to something the late Stevie Ray Vaughn may have done.
Songwriter and producer Trent Willmon wrote the two original tracks, and while Johnson says very little about those songs in this interview, he promises they're among the coolest Christmas songs you'll ever hear.