Interviews

Chris Janson on Paying Dues, Tim Mcgraw Duet and New Album

Country singer Chris Janson is celebrating a milestone moment in his career with the release of his debut album today. The 29-year-old may be a relatively new name to most country fans, but he’s been working towards his newfound success for years.

Over a decade ago, Janson moved to Nashville and began playing music up to sixteen hours a day in the famous honky tonks on Lower Broadway. He paid his dues, which later paid off in a big way. “It taught me how to be a hustler,” Janson told Wide Open Country. “Music became my job.”

His hands-on approach carried over to his independently released single, “Buy Me a Boat”. The rapid success of the track earned the attention of Warner Music Nashville, who offered him a record deal earlier this year.

Now, Janson is rolling out his full-length debut of the same name, which features everything from down-home party anthems to heartfelt ballads.

One of the standout tracks on the record is “Messin’ With Jesus”, a rowdy duet with Tim McGraw. Janson, who co-wrote McGraw’s hit track “Truck Yeah”, says writing the track was truly a family affair.

The original, rather sentimental premise for the song came from his wife, who thought of the idea during a conversation with a friend about having another child. Janson took that idea and flipped it on its side, infusing some hard-hitting southern rock and roll into the track. He references everything from long, whiskey-soaked nights to bar-room brawls, which were a part of the “alternative lifestyle” he lived in his earlier years.

From the beginning, Janson knew exactly who he wanted to sing with on the track. “I said, ‘God, I gotta have Tim on that song,” he explained. “I may not cut it if I don’t.'” Not long after, McGraw agreed to lend his voice to the track, which Janson now cites as one of his favorite songs he’s ever written. 

Family is a theme deeply woven into Buy Me a Boat, including the powerful story-song “Holdin’ Her”. The track looks back at Janson’s life and quest to find fulfillment in his career and personal life, and has often garnered standing ovations from the crowd during his live performances.

When it comes to his music, Janson seems more concerned with staying true to himself than chasing what’s popular. “It’s about having your own sound. I’m doing it, Sam Hunt’s doing it… There’s a lot of us doing it,” Janson says. “You’ve got to find your own sound – your own identity – since you just get mixed in with everything else.”

Janson’s debut album, Buy Me a Boat, hits stores today.

He’ll be on the road for the remainder of the year, and will support Blake Shelton for an extensive set of dates that begin in February.

Next: 10 Songs You Shouldn’t Have Missed in September

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Chris Janson on Paying Dues, Tim Mcgraw Duet and New Album