Cody Joe Hodges is a country artist ready to make his mark on the music industry. His performance debut was at the age of five on a family vacation, singing the famous country song, “Amarillo By Morning”. Some of his primary influences include the likes of George Strait, Merle Haggard, Johnny Cash, Waylon Jennings and Willie Nelson, to name just a few! With Hodges’ voice ranging from silky smooth to raspy seduction and his high-energy performance, his sound is something from a bygone age but his writing is firmly rooted in the present. Cody Joe Hudges lives life as a road dog, constantly touring and getting his music out there. When he’s not touring, he lives in Nashville. This country artist brings a drive and determination with the goal of achieving national results.
BuzzMusic is proud to present a brand new single by Cody Joe Hodges, “House of the Rising Sun”. A cover of a famous 60s song by The Animals, this cover is not what you might expect. The overall tempo is much slower and more reserved, shedding a more solemn light on a familiar tune. After a somber introduction, the organs, bass and guitars come in for an impactful entrance, and Hodges’ vocals soar above with conviction. His voice has an undeniable star quality that will make your hairs stand on end. Yet another unexpected twist, about half way through this cover, Hodges sings a verse from the famous Christian hymn, “Amazing Grace”. The verses are mostly broken up with blistering and soulful guitar solos, showing that Hodges as a multi-talented artist. We enjoyed “House of the Rising Sun”, and we know you will too, so check it out below!
So you’ve obviously been singing forever, but it wasn’t until your senior year of high school that you started to take music seriously. How did that come about, and what clicked in your mind?
I was really into sports when I was younger. It wasn't until my senior year of high school that I realized my future in sports was not going to work out, so I switched my energy to music - learning the guitar and starting to sing more and more. I wrote my first song while a freshman at Texas A&M (2001), and then had my first paying gig in 2002.
You’ve just released “House of the Rising Sun”, and you definitely bring something new to the table for a song that’s very famous already. How did this song come about, and what prompted your decision to sing Amazing Grace in the middle?
"House of the Rising Sun" was one of the first songs that I learned to play. It wasn't until years later that my mother-in-law requested me to sing it while we were sitting around a bonfire. Since then, I've been playing it out at my live show, and have had a great response. I think sometimes, in country music especially, there aren't a lot of "big moments" in songs. I wanted a "big moment" where I could really showcase my voice, and this songs lends well to that. As for the "Amazing Grace" snippet in the middle of the song, that was kind of a fluke. My wife and I were in the car and I started playing around the lyrics for "Amazing Grace". Once I sang it with the "House of the Rising Sun" melody, my wife told me that it sounded awesome, so I tried to come up with a way to incorporate it in the song.
Who would you say are your biggest artistic influences? What inspires you to write?
My biggest artistic influences are the country greats - George Strait, Merle Haggard, Garth Brooks, Waylon Jennings, Willie Nelson, and Johnny Cash. I love that traditional country sound, but I also like to "rough it up" a little bit by adding a rasp or growl, electric guitar and/or a little Southern rock. We are on the road most of the year. Last year I played 172 shows, coast to coast. My writing partner and manager, Jamie McKean, is always by my side. Most of the ideas we get for our songs come from our travels. It might be someone we meet, a story we hear, something we see or read along the way or a place we have visited while on the road.
Would you briefly walk us through what your creative process is like?
We have been fortunate in that we have written with some great songwriters in Nashville. Before we moved to Nashville this past year, we would come up for about a week every other month to write. Normally, Jamie and I meet with another songwriter or two at a Nashville writing room. We bounce song ideas around, and whatever idea everyone in the room agrees on is the direction we start with. Sometimes the idea gets turned around, totally left behind and/or switched from chorus to verse, but it gives us a direction.
What can we hope to see from Cody Joe Hodges in the future?
Great things! I am constantly working - gigging year-round, focusing on songwriting, and meeting some great people. I'm really excited about some of the new material that we've been working on, and about some new touring possibilities. I intend for this to be a lifetime career, similar to that of Merle Haggard and Willie Nelson, so, God-willing, there will be lots for you to see from me.