Cody Johnson

Ain't Nothin' to It

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Prior to the January 2019 release of Ain't Nothin' to It, Cody Johnson released six albums on his own, carving out a niche on the red dirt circuit of Texas. He was successful enough to warrant the attention of Warner Music Nashville, which signed him after 2016's Gotta Be Me nearly cracked the overall Top 10 -- a sign that this straight-ahead country singer was poised for bigger, possibly better, things. Ain't Nothin' to It bears all the hallmarks of hard work: Its blend of classic hardwood honky tonk with a modern sensibility feels assured, the songs are designed to withstand the road, and Johnson feels casually confident in his delivery. Although his musical values are traditional (one of the bonus live tracks is a cover of Roger Miller's "Husbands and Wives"), his sensibility veers toward modern -- there is more than one reference to weed on the record -- and that helps keep Ain't Nothin' to It fresh. Johnson's destination is familiar, but he gets there in a scenic fashion, spending some time kicking up dust and nearly as much time getting sentimental, and those details are what gives the album resonance.

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