Almost 40 years after he first arrived in Nashville, Johnny Rodriguez is right back where he started coming full circle back to making the kind of honest country music that he and his fans always enjoyed. Born December 10, 1951, Johnny Rodriguez was the second youngest of 10 children living in a four room house in Sabinal, Texas, a small town about 90 miles from the Mexico Border.
Growing up in Sabinal, Johnny was an A/B student, captain of his Junior High School Football team, a high school letterman and an altar boy at church. But it wasn’t all innocent. In 1969, caught with friends stealing and barbecuing a goat, Rodriguez took the rap. It was this jail visit that gave Johnny his first break.
His jail house singing enthralled Texas Ranger, Joaquin Jackson, who told a promoter about Rodriguez. The promoter, Happy Shahan, hired Johnny to perform at the Alamo Village, a popular south Texas tourist attraction and location of many well know movie sets. It was here that Johnny was heard by Nashville artists Tom T. Hall and Bobby Bare who both encouraged Johnny to fly to Nashville in 1971. 20-year old Rodriguez found himself stepping off the plane with nothing more than his guitar in hand and $14 in his pocket. Soon he was fronting Tom T. Hall’s Band and writing songs.
Less than year later, Hall took Johnny over to the office of Roy Dea and Jerry Kennedy, then record producers of Mercury’s Nashville operation, for an in person audition. Dea offered a contract on the spot after hearing “I Can’t Stop Loving You” and “If I’d Left It Up To You”.
This favored son of Texas has received standing ovations by audiences ranging from Ryman Auditorium to Carnegie Hall. He has been honored with the presence of Presidents of the United States including Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton and playing the Inaugural Ball for George Bush.
Johnny was inducted into the Texas Country Music Hall of Fame in Carthage, TX in 2007, an honor well deserved for his contribution to country music. In 2010, Johnny received the Pioneer Award from the Institute of Hispanic Culture. Johnny received the Living Legend Award from CMA of Texas in 2019.
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