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Jelly Roll and Cody are two of country music’s top stars at the moment. While they may seem like an unlikely duo, Cody says they have more in common than meets the eye.
Anyone who’s followed Jelly Roll’s story knows he spent some time behind bars. On the flip side, Cody worked as a prison guard before fully committing himself to his music career. In an interview with CMT, Cody said his own life could have taken a similar path to Jelly Roll’s in the past:
“You guys may not look at me and realize this, but I have a pretty jaded past as well. I’ve always said there was a time in my life where I had to make a decision, and that decision was either to chase this dream professionally with a good mindset. There’s a few mistakes that I’ve made in my life — there’s a few decisions I’ve made in my life where I could have wound up here, or I very well could have wound up in jail.”
Cody added, “Respect is mutual [between him and Jelly Roll], and real recognizes real. So absolutely, we’ve talked about working together.”
Cody and Jelly Roll finally got the chance to work together on the song “Whiskey Bent.” Cody told Billboard Jelly Roll was originally supposed to sing on another track from Leather, “Jesus Loves You.”
But when Jelly Roll asked to hear some of Cody’s other songs, he got emotional upon hearing “Whiskey Bent.”
“He just started crying and was like, ‘Bro, I ain’t never heard a song like that. If I’m gonna be on a song, can it be that one?’ I gave him the entire second verse. It didn’t take him long to learn the song and he did incredibly,” Cody said.
Cody believes both he and Jelly Roll have “lived the song in [their] own ways.”
“People look at me as this clean-cut, wholesome guy, but I’m no different than anybody else,” he said. “I’ve got demons in my closet and things in my past that are hard to deal with, that I go to therapy sometimes to deal with. I’ve lived a very fast-paced, lot-of-pressure kind of life and I’ve made mistakes. I haven’t started doing regular sessions; I need to talk in the moment. I’m slowly but surely softening up, just like the song ‘Leather.’ I know it takes time to open up and not be so hard-edged on that. But just recognizing it is the hard part.”
You can hear Cody and Jelly Roll’s new duet, “Whiskey Bent,” in the clip below.