José Feliciano’s “Feliz Navidad” has been a holiday standard for more than 50 years. Feliciano penned and recorded the triumphant tune as the title track to his 1970 album. Since then, the song has been recorded by a who’s who of cross-genre stars, including Celine Dion, Michael Bublé, Gwen Stefani, Laura Pausini, Kacey Musgraves, and more. Now, you can add Cody Johnson to the aforementioned list.
The Sebastopol, Texas, native recorded “Feliz Navidad” on his new holiday album, A Cody Johnson Christmas, which dropped on November 19. The 10-song offering features a festive mix of holiday mainstays like Feliciano’s “Feliz Navidad,” Willie Nelson’s “Pretty Paper,” and Merle Haggard’s “If We Make It Through December,” as well as original compositions “Hat Made of Mistletoe” and “Christmas All Year Long.”
Cody Johnson Calls in ‘Dos Borrachos’
For his recording of “Feliz Navidad,” Cody enlisted the vocal talents of two Lone Star State luminaries, Roger Creager and Kevin Fowler. Both Creager and Fowler have been cranking out Texas country tunes for more than 20 years. Need some recommendations? Check out Creager’s “Fun All Wrong” and “Long Way to Mexico,” as well as Fowler’s “Best Mistake I Ever Made” and “100% Texan.” Of course, “Feliz Navidad” is not the first time the cohorts have collaborated. The Texas trio of Cody, Kevin, and Roger teamed up for “A Drinkin’ Song” on Kevin’s 2019 album, Barstool Stories.
So when it came time to record “Feliz Navidad,” Cody called in his boys Creager and Fowler, affectionately referred to as dos borrachos, which translates to “two drunks.” Creager and Fowler released a spirited collaborative album, Dos Borrachos, in 2019.
“Well, in Texas those two guys call themselves the dos borrachos,” said Cody Johnson to Outsider. “We wanted to have kind of a Tex-Mex song on the album. There was no better crew to call in than Kevin Fowler and Roger Creager, the dos borrachos. And when [producer] Trent Willmon and I were talking about ‘Feliz Navidad,’ I was like, ‘Man, I don’t know, I don’t know if I can sing in Spanish.’ And he’s like, ‘Dude, sing it like you’re going for a Latin Grammy.’ Then all of a sudden, I was just playing around with the lyrics, really getting into it. And he’s like, ‘Yes, that’s it.’ I’m like, ‘Okay, here we go.’ Recording was such a fun time. It was so good, and it was so fun to be able to just walk in and sing. It made it so much more fun.”