|Meeting Cody at Women's Expo|
As Season 8 of The Voice was about to air on NBC, a buzz started in our little town of Beckley, West Virginia. Everywhere I went, it seemed like I was being asked, "Do you know Cody Wickline?" I didn't know Cody or his family yet. We've only lived here for three years. And when I shared that, friend after friend would start to tell me about this "great kid" from a "wonderful family" who was going to be on the show.
John and I were already fans of The Voice. So we were excited about watching his performance. If you don't watch the show, you can see his blind audition (and four chair turn) in this video...
And in the battle round that followed, Cody showed another side...
Just prior to Cody's last appearance on the show (Blake chose Corey Kent White in the knock out round), we sat down with Cody and his parents to discuss the possibility of Cody representing our automobile dealership (John Howerton Honda). We thought we'd spend a couple of hours talking, but we wound up spending most of the day together. And toward the end of our "meeting," we assured them that it didn't matter to us how far Cody went on The Voice. We may have initially reached out because of his celebrity and how great his involvement in our advertising would be, but after spending time with Cody and his parents, we wanted to help promote Cody as much or more than we wanted him to promote us...
We believe in his talent. His singing and performing abilities are undeniable. But we are even bigger fans of the person. Cody has continued to impress us as we've had the pleasure of getting to know him better. He's genuine, kind, respectful and humble. And he's eagerly devoted lots of time and attention to charity work already, performing for as many fundraisers as he can possibly squeeze into his schedule. I know he'll continue to help others because it's obvious his heart is in it.
|*From George Jones Museum Facebook Page|
I believe Cody Wickline is on the brink of seeing a few more dreams come true. It's exciting to have the privilege of knowing and spending time with him and his family at this exciting time in his life. We couldn't be more thrilled for Cody's recent national attention. But beyond that, it's just an honor and a treat for us to be considered friends of the Wickline family. They are precious and real and devoted to each other. One of my very favorite things about Cody is his love and respect for his mom and dad. You can just tell they mean the world to him, as well as his little brother Caleb. He values their opinions and looks to them for guidance. It's a refreshing thing to see in a 21-year-old guy who is suddenly a big celebrity in our community. Cody Wickline knows at a young age what really matters in life. And I don't believe any amount of success will ever change that about him. His voice may make him a star in the eyes of many, but his heart is what shines brightest in my eyes.
We are sponsors of Cody's first arena concert here in Beckley. We're a humble little town and our arena sure isn't anything comparable to Bridgestone in Nashville or any other big city. But Cody's gonna rock the house on May 2. And John and I will be in the front row. Well, John will be in the front row apart from whatever amount of time Cody manages to get him up on stage with the band. (John has a music history of his own from the seventies, you know.)
This video doesn't showcase Cody's vocals the way the old country ballads do, but this is the Cody I'm looking forward to seeing perform on stage: