Remember the first time you heard “Travelin’ Soldier” by The Chicks? The completely raw emotions it conjures, the sweet, tragic love story, the quiet agony of the last few stanzas. It’s a masterpiece in songwriting and performance, and Cody Johnson recently took a stab at it.
In a video posted on March 3, Johnson and his band settled into a studio to record a low-key performance of The Chicks’ “Travelin’ Soldier”; the result is truly inspiring. He knocked it out of the park with a beautiful rendition of an already beautiful song.
His rhythm is a bit different than The Chicks’, but it works; he turns it into his own version by changing up the rhythm and melody a bit. His twangy, almost lilting voice fits right into the lyrics like puzzle pieces slotting together; that signature Cody Johnson tone works so well with “Travelin’ Soldier” it’s uncanny.
It’s also interesting to hear this song in a male voice; the soldier speaks in first person in some stanzas. For example, “When it’s getting kinda rough over here / I think of that day sitting down at the pier / and I close my eyes and see your pretty smile / don’t worry but I won’t be able to write for a while” in the third stanza. To hear this from a male perspective is enlightening; not that it’s not heartbreaking when The Chicks sing it, but they’re perspective works well in the chorus; “I cried / never gonna hold the hand of another guy” and “Our love will never end / waiting on the soldier to come back again.”
Cody Johnson takes “Travelin’ Soldier” and strips it down to its bare bones. He opens it up, makes it flourish, and turns it into something wholly his own while still making a tribute to The Chicks. This performance is a must-listen; it’ll reintroduce you to The Chicks, for one, and it’ll also showcase just how good Cody Johnson is.
Cody Johnson and Others Set to Perform Tribute to Merle Haggard at Grand Ole Opry
Cody Johnson, along with Lainey Wilson, Joe Nichols, and Merle Haggard’s son, Marty Haggard, are slated to perform a tribute concert at the Grand Ole Opry for late country music star Merle Haggard. The performances include covers of Haggard’s songs, plus original songs from the performing artists who were influenced by Haggard.
The concert, called “Opry Salutes Merle Haggard,” is set for April 6, the anniversary of Merle Haggard’s birth and death. Tickets are currently on sale.
The Opry posted about the tribute show on Instagram, writing, “The Grand Ole Opry will celebrate one of country music’s most influential artists, @merlehaggardofficial, on the anniversary of both his birth and his death, Wednesday, April 6,” alongside a photo of the late musician.