Red Dirt Music is a sub-genre of country music that has its roots in Oklahoma and Texas. So it’s just fitting that the BOK Center in Tulsa, OK would hold a one-night show called Red Dirt Round-Up showcasing several different bands. The 2nd annual event featured Eli Young Band, Cody Johnson Band, Kevin Fowler and American Aquarium.
I really like it when I get surprised. I came to the show having vaguely heard of three of the acts and, of course, knowing Eli Young Band from their radio hits. However, I left a full-blown fan of the Cody Johnson Band. Originally from East Texas, Johnson has released several albums and is a staple in the Texas country music scene. His voice and music style are reminiscent of George Jones, Travis Tritt and George Strait. With his true cowboy look including boots, cowboy hat and big buckle, he and The Rockin’ CJB Band stole the show and were arguably the best act of the evening.
They opened with “Dance Her Home” from their 2014 album Cowboy Like Me and continued to play many songs from that album including “Lucky,” “Give a Cowboy a Kiss,” “Proud,” and the title track “Cowboy Like Me,” which he dedicated to all the military personnel in the audience. The energy on stage was infectious as they sang “Me and My Kind” and the crowd full of CJB fans sang the words right back.
The band itself was absolutely incredible to watch and listen to. Joey Pruski, one of the most entertaining bass players I’ve ever seen in country music, took the stage for a solo and wowed the crowd. Then, fiddle player Jody Bartula got the spotlight as they played Alabama’s “Tennessee River.” Lead guitar player Jeff Smith along with Bartula, this time on guitar, showed us their skills with the solo from the Eagles’ “Hotel California” and drummer Miles Stone brought it all home with a crowd pumping drum solo. They finished the night with a fantastic cover of Chris LeDoux’s “8 Second Ride” which couldn’t be a more perfect song from the former bull rider.
Although I did not go to this show knowing anything about Cody Johnson Band, I am extremely happy to say that I will be adding their music to my regular playlists. They plan to release a new album entitled Gotta Be Me this spring and I will be one of the first to buy it. If you are looking for an act that can produce great country music in the studio and can also wow your socks off live, look no further than Cody Johnson Band. For more information and tour dates go to www.thecjb.com and follow them on Twitter and Facebook.