Cody Johnson, Roger Creager, and The Powell Brothers

27th Annual McAllen Rotary Crawfish Boil

Cody Johnson, Roger Creager, and The Powell Brothers

Friday, April 27, 2018

Doors: 6:30 pm / Show: 6:30 pm

Las Palmas Race Park

Mission, TX


This event is all ages

Cody Johnson
Cody Johnson
Cody Johnson: The Man, the Music

In an time of synthetics and plastics, folks appreciate the real thing. Musically, we look for songs that reach beyond our eardrums, touching our hearts. Cody Johnson's unique blend of Country and Rock does just that.

Many Texas Music fans met Cody Johnson’s honest style through the radio singles from his Six Strings, One Dream album: "Nobody to Blame" (#6 on the Texas music charts in 2009); #1"Pray for Rain" (2009 - 2010); and "Texas Kind of Way" (#6, late 2010 – 2011).

At first opening for other artists, Cody has also taken the Texas dance-halls by storm. Increasingly, the Cody Johnson Band is the attraction, and an honest-to-goodness one.

Cody’s childhood, though, was different from his rowdy onstage personality. Growing up, home was Sebastopol, a speck on the East Texas piney woods map, the perfect setting for that country boy to roam the woods, hunt, and fish. Home-schooling and family times around the piano provided the kind of life the kind many folks envy. Even Cody's music training started when dad Carl taught him the chords to “I’ll Fly Away,” a Southern Gospel favorite.

Starting public school as a freshmen, Cody expanded beyond playing the guitar and drums at church. When his “ag science” teacher overheard Cody playing an original song, he convinced Cody to form a band with other FFA (Future Farmers of America) members. A few months later, Cody's band placed "runner-up" in the highly competitive Texas State FFA talent contest.

Cody left the contest realizing he was in love for life: in love with the music, the crowd, and the energy of performing onstage. Beginning in small honky-tonks and bars, he tried different musical styles. Discarding many, today Cody's shows still keep a Garth Brooks-level of energy and a Ronnie Van Zant - outlaw dedication to individual style. Like the late Chris LeDoux's musical beginnings, “CoJo” sold his acoustic CDs from the back of his truck during three years of bull-riding. Cody still shows up today as the true cowboy he is.

After graduation, Johnson worked for the Texas Department of Criminal Justice in Huntsville. There, supervising prison inmates, Cody confides, "I developed an even greater appreciation for family and friends. Seeing how easy it was to go to prison set me on the 'straight and narrow'."

Also in Huntsville, Cody met Nathan Reedy, who became his new drummer. With Carl Johnson playing bass, the trio began traveling as the Cody Johnson Band. Their first CD, Black & White Label, provided funding for travel and radio promotion - and the assurance that the music dream was real.

Along the way, several popular artists have shared their friendship, fans and wisdom with Cody. Some had business advice and warned him of issues musicians face on the road. The common thread is that other professionals respect Cody as performer, songwriter and individual. In turn, Cody Johnson earns that respect, giving as much effort to an audience of 30 or 30,000. As he states, “I like the crowd to sing along, yell, or whatever makes them feel part of the show. I love big crowds because of the energy and showmanship I can exhibit. I love acoustic shows because of the intimacy and how candid they are. Acoustic shows are like sittin’ around the living room 'pickin' and grinnin'."

Winning the Texas’ Regional Music Awards as “New Male Vocalist of the Year, 2011,” caused Cody to choose whether leave the security of State employment to chase his dreams. So he followed his own advice to "Always pray for direction, and know that no matter what..., the good Lord has a plan."

The answer to that prayer came when Cody's wife Brandi gave her “thumbs-up.” As Cody puts it, "When the woman I love - and plan to spend the rest of my life with - told me that she 'stands by her man' and believes in me 100%, I believed even more confidently that I could live my dream. Though I've had lots of people believe, contribute, push and pull me along, no one's efforts affected my decision emotionally the way Brandi's faith in me did."

Cody indeed left his "day job" for the more-than-full-time music career. But, that’swhere the story really begins.

Expanding his boundaries beyond Texas, he flew to Nashville to record a new CD with Nashville studio musicians hand-picked by his "big brother," Nashville-based fellow Texan, Trent Willmon, producer of the new album, A Different Day (released October 31,2011).

Though new to Nashville recording ways, Johnson’s musical confidence showed in the Music City recording studio. Together, he and the studio musicians tweaked songs to obtain the exact intended effect. Listening to the Music City veterans, Cody adopted suggestions when they felt right, and would "hang tough" when he felt the music differently.

According to CoJo, "I don't want to be labeled as 'Texas' or 'Nashville.' I am me: Texas, outlaw, cowboy, country, and a God-fearing man using the gift He gave me."

-Billie Willmon Jenkin
Roger Creager
Roger Creager
For more than a decade, Roger Creager built a reputation on his distinctive brand of hard-core, rabble-rousing Texas Country music, on his rich, full-bodied voice that can carry a tune for miles, and on his exceptional ability to work thousands of Texans into a rabid frenzy with his voice and guitar, in the great concert tradition of Jerry Jeff Walker and Robert Earl Keen. Along the way, he's been writing some mighty fine instant classics about family heirlooms, fields of bluebonnets, and late night trips to Mexico. Four albums, hundreds of thousands of road miles, and an ever-expanding fan base later, Here It Is has Roger Creager laying his cards on the table with thirteen songs that are arguably his best batch yet.

"It's been five years since I've put out anything new," Roger says. "So it's five years of evolving and maybe even maturing, although it's still me." Actually, it's more of him than ever. For the first time, he's written or co-written every song on the album.

The first single, "I'm From the Beer Joint" plays to Creager's honky-tonk wildcat image informed by his live album, as he declares his preference for independent drinking establishments. "It's not going to change any lives, but it sure is fun," Creager laughs about the sing-along, before turning serious. "But who wants to listen to a whole album of that?" He's aiming for something higher.

"I hope there's a song here that penetrates your soul, too," he says, leaning forward. "There's a few that may do just that. I aimed with a shotgun. I really did try to mix it up. There's love songs [Missing You], drinking songs [the aforementioned "Beer Joint"], up-tempo dancing songs [I Love Being Lonesome], groovy little tunes [Tangle Me in You], one about a man who's screwed up and he's driving like hell through the middle of the night to get home [Driving Home]. 'I Loved You When' is my best story song yet. It doesn't even tell the whole story. It doesn't have to. It gives you just enough to know there's a history there. It's all you need to know."

The two catalysts behind the album were Lloyd Maines, the go-to producer who produced Creager's first albums, and Radney Foster, the Texas kid from Del Rio, whose songs and productions have established him as one of country music's most innovative and edgy operators. Radney teamed up with Justin Tocket, a talented producer himself, to co-produce this project. But Roger himself is the biggest catalyst of all.

The Corpus Christi native was raised on songs like Guy Clark's "Desperadoes Waiting For A Train" and Gary P. Nunn's "You Ask Me What I Like About Texas" and under the influence of Jerry Jeff Walker, Lyle Lovett, Robert Earl Keen, and Jimmy Buffett, along with Willie, Waylon, Cash, Merle, and even Sinatra.

He graduated from college and spent two years in Houston working a 8-5 gig. He finally listened to his heart and moved back to College Station to pursue a life in music. Working without a paycheck was liberating. "I'd always been a slacker," Roger admits, "and I could easily see myself failing in music because I wasn't trying hard enough. So I promised myself that would be one excuse I'd never use. I just got out there and busted my hump."

In 1998, he released Having Fun, then blew open the doors two years later with I Got the Guns. The title track, a striking piece about his granddad and his family, became a staple on more than 200 radio stations programming Texas Country Music. Long Way To Mexico and Live Across Texas grew his audience beyond state lines.

Here It Is speaks to those broadening horizons. "I was in 14 countries last year," Roger says. "I want to take our music to a wider audience without compromising the integrity of the music. I'm taking some of who I am to where I'm going."

"I've always tried to make records where every song is different so I can listen to them over and over again instead of forty five minutes of essentially the same song," he says. With Here It Is, he can do just that. This go-round, he's staying on for the whole ride.
Venue Information:
Las Palmas Race Park
9809 N Taylor Road
Mission, TX, 78573