Cody Johnson talks about significance of playing at CMA Fest

Hardy, Miranda Lambert, Keith Urban headline performers on second night at Nissan Stadium.
WSMV4's Lydia Fielder reports.
Published: Jun. 9, 2023 at 11:45 PM CDT
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NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WSMV) - Night two of the CMA Fest at Nissan Stadium had just as many people as the night before and a lot of energy.

Miranda Lambert, Keith Urban, Tanya Tucker, Hardy and Cody Johnson were among the artists performing on Friday.

Johnson talked about the significance of performing in the 50th year of the festival.

He said he spent years working in obscurity, valuing hard work, singing in small bars and honky tonks, and singing a style of country music that’s different than a lot of others.

“Personally, it’s been a long, hard road of working hard of playing bars and honky-tonks to get to the point where I can just step on the largest stage in America with country music fans,” Johnson said. “I said this probably five minutes ago, these people aren’t here to party for three days in a field, they are here to hear country music.”

Surprise guest Jelly Roll said he’d love to collaborate with a few Hollywood actors if he could.

“That’s my formal invitation. Johnny Depp, if you want to get involved in my next album, if you wanna come play at the Grand Ole Opry with me and The Rock, I can set it up,” Jelly Roll said. “I’m lying. I can’t set it up, but I can try. It’d be great.”

Jelly Roll mentioned his friendship with actor Dwayne Johnson, a former professional wrestler, and their Nashville connection. Jelly Roll went to Antioch High School while Johnson was a student at McGavock High for a year. He said The Rock is the first to congratulate him on any big event, whether it’s an award or his daughter’s birthday.