Cody Johnson Covers The Judds’ “Grandpa” For Tribute Album
Christopher Polk/Penske Media/Will & Deni Media Inc./Corbis via Getty Images
The highly-anticipated album, A Tribute To The Judds, was released Friday (Oct. 27) and includes an all-star lineup of artist covering the legendary duo’s biggest hits.
Wynonna Judd, Ashley McBryde, Blake Shelton, Carl Perkins, Carly Pearce, Dolly Parton, Gabby Barrett, Gwen Stefani, Jamey Johnson, Jelly Roll, Jennifer Nettles, Lainey Wilson, LeAnn Rimes, Megan Moroney, Reba McEntire, Trisha Yearwood and more contributed to the project. One of the most awaited releases was Cody Johnson’s cover of “Grandpa (Tell Me ‘Bout The Good Old Days).”
“Grandpa” was released in 1986 as the second single from The Judds’ second studio album, Rockin’ with the Rhythm. It went on to become their sixth No. 1 song on Billboard‘s Hot Country Singles chart. “Grandpa” earned the mother-daughter duo a Grammy Award in 1987 for Best Country Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocals and won songwriter Jamie O’Hara a trophy for Country Songwriting.
O’Hara told Billboard how the song was born, saying, “I’d been working very regularly around that time. I was in a songwriting groove, and woke up one morning, and that’s the song that came out. ‘Grandpa’ was a gift that songwriters get every once in a while, if you’re putting in the work.”
In an interview with Kentucky Country Music in 2017, Naomi recalled the moment she and Wynonna heard “Grandpa” for the first time.
“The minute I heard it, I thought, This song just gets me. Gets me in the heart. Gets me in the gut. Gets me in the head. I thought it was so much my song because it says, ‘did families really bow their heads to pray, did daddies really never go away.’ And I’m standing there singing the song with Wynonna and she never knew her dad. And my daddy was gone before we wrote this song, so the audience didn’t know that there’s this ghost, this third person standing there with us when we’re talking about our grandpas and all that,” Naomi shared.
The emotion was palpable in The Judds’ original recording. And while “Grandpa” has been covered numerous times since its initial release, few artists have managed to capture the emotion the song requires. That cannot be said for Cody Johnson who managed to maintain the integrity of the original while giving new life to the hit with his soulful rendition.
Johnson was joined by Grand Ole Opry member Sonya Isaacs, of family gospel group The Isaacs, on the cover. Together the pair delivered one of the most touching renditions released since The Judds’ original nearly 40 years ago.
Hear Cody Johnson and Sonya Isaacs sing “Grandpa (Tell Me ‘Bout The Old Days)” in the video below.