Cody Johnson Kept Working Despite a Pinched Nerve From a Rodeo Injury

Singer-songwriter Cody Johnson has quickly become one of country music’s biggest talents. He went from a run of self-released albums with increasing success to a 2016 major-label debut. From there, his career has been on a rapid trajectory toward megastardom.

Cody Johnson performing on stage
Cody Johnson | Erika Goldring/Getty Images

The path to that success wasn’t easy. His bet on himself goes beyond self-funding his recording career for a decade. In a field packed with hard workers, Johnson takes it to another level. His admiration of the old outlaw country artists drives him to tour relentlessly — even when his body tries to tell him not to.

Cody Johnson believes in working hard at all times

Johnson’s work philosophy is, essentially, to never stop grinding. His biggest single to date, “Til You Can’t”, is an anthem to this stance on life. As the title implies, the themes are not subtle. Keep working to achieve your goals in life, as hard as possible, “’til you can’t.” Otherwise, you’re letting life pass you by.

“We’ve got a younger generation, I think in this country right now that’s kind of a ‘give to me, owed to me, I’m owed something,'” the country star told Audacy. “Let me tell you somethin’, nobody owes you anything in this life. If you want something you gotta go get it.”

That describes his career arc by any metric. It is also a philosophy he feels is important to pass down to his children. He even demonstrated exactly what he meant to his fans. Before the promotional cycle for Til You Can’t” fully wound down, he headed to the studio to record a Christmas album, A Cody Johnson Christmas. He even got his family involved in the project.

Johnson took his own advice and continued performing through injuries and illness

Johnson’s insistence on working as hard as possible has been tested in some very direct ways. According to Taste of Country, he’s even willing to work through chronic pain and illness. He thinks that the key to true success — and satisfaction with life itself — is to learn to work through anything.

Throughout his last tour, Johnson worked through awful pain thanks to a pinched nerve. He says it flared up as a long-term effect of “an old rodeo injury.” Rather than canceling dates, he put off treatment until the tour wrapped up.

As if that wasn’t enough, one of the recurring disasters of living life on the road came for Johnson on the same tour. He ended up getting food poisoning and suffering from a nasty bout with salmonella. But that didn’t lead to any canceled dates, either. “I had to explain to my girls that sometimes, even when you are sick, you need to go out and go to work,” the hard-working Texas singer said.

Johnson’s family is always nearby even when he’s on the road

When Johnson hits the road, he matches the hard-touring work ethic of his outlaw country idols. But that’s where the similarities between him and his hero Willie Nelson end. The List reports that he doesn’t go for the drink-and-drug-heavy lifestyle that some artists in his genre tend toward.

Instead, he brings his family on the road. That includes his wife, Brandi, and their two girls Clara Mae and Codi. He calls his tour bus “the Million Dollar Daycare,” as it’s entirely designed around having young kids along for the ride.

Johnson makes sure to keep the kids up late just once in a while, so they can see him on stage to perform. It isn’t about seeing how much the crowd adores him, though. The goal is for them to understand that their father works to provide for them, so they don’t take their lifestyle for granted.

RELATED: Reba McEntire Didn’t Play With Dolls — She Competed in Rodeos