How do you follow up a debut CD that exceeds all expectations, puts four songs in heavy rotation on Texas radio, and yields a #1 single on the Texas Music Charts. If you're Huntsville, Texas native Cody Johnson, the answer is simple: You make a better album that is produced better, written better, sung better and sends notice to the country music world that you are for real. That's exactly what we get with Cody's sophomore album, 'A Different Day'.

It's hard for me not to compare Johnson's debut album, 'Six Strings One Dream' to the new one. The first effort showed a ton of talent and the same amount of potential from a kid in his early 20's, who had his whole music career ahead of him. All Cody has done since the release of that CD is get impressively better.

For 'A Different Day', Cody Johnson enlisted the help of well known songwriters, including Trent Willmon, Zane Williams, and Joanna Smith among others, and the result is a CD full of powerful songs. '18 Weels "Craig's Song"' opens the album with a rockin' country sound that Cody is known for. This song begs to be played in front of a dance floor.

The second track, 'Guilty As Can Be', is my favorite. A story told from the perspective of a man in prison for killing his wife's lover. Country music radio needs more new music that tells a great story like this song that channels emotion that goes deeper than people feel on a day-to-day basis. This is a #1 Texas Music Chart hit, but deserves consideration on the national level.

'Diamond In My Pocket', 'The Way She Loves Me' and the title track to 'A Different Day' show off a softer more melodic side to Cody's music. This guy can sing a ballad as well as any male singer on the radio today.

'Keep Her Man' is just plain cool. A catchy, fun, unconventional love song that will have you singing along after the first listen. 'What's Left Of Texas?' showcases Cody Johnson's old soul, to say the least. This song makes a bold statement about the current condition of the Lone Star State, and the country for that matter. It's cool that Cody allows his bitter side to show through some.

The CD 'A Different Day' shows us that there's a natural uniqueness to Cody Johnson's voice, and from the sound of it, he has worked hard to improve. It shows that Cody isn't just a singer, but a talented and clever songwriter.

I've known Cody Johnson for over 4 years. The first time I talked to him in the summer of 2008, he called me at the east Texas radio station I was working at, asking if he could bring his band in for an interview. He didn't have a CD. He didn't have any shows to promote. Cody just wanted his music to be heard, and he was willing to do the grunt work to make that happen, including bring his band on an hour-long unpaid road trip to a radio station. The work ethic impressed me, but Cody and his band were really great.

The work he's done is paying off for Cody Johnson, and it will continue to pay off. You see, Cody Johnson has a rare combination of work ethic, business sense and talent. There are only a handful of Texas artists that possess all of those traits, and you know them all by name:  Aaron Watson, Kevin Fowler, Wade Bowen, Josh Abbott and a few others. Cody's next step is onto the platform that holds these stars, but don't be surprised if he becomes a national star sooner than later.

Here's Cody Johnson and 'The Rockin' CJB' with a live performance of 'Guilty As Can Be':