If there was a manual written on how to be a honky tonk performer, there would be a chapter on Chris Janson. This past weekend, he performed at the Froggy Field Party in Eminence, Kentucky, showcasing his honest country music talent.
Just a few years ago during an outing with a few friends, he got his chance to perform at Tootsie’s Orchid Lounge in Nashville. Just by luck, he received an offer of a lifetime at the age of 18.
“I ended up playing without taking breaks. To do it legally, you can play but you cannot step foot off that stage. Basically you could play and jump out in the street and not touch the floor. I became friends with the doormen who could easily hoist me up there. I didn’t drink, so it didn’t matter. I learned a big time work ethic,” according to Janson.
He would go on to play at Tootsies for a year. “It’s literally about who is the best at the moment. It’s about being at the right place and the right time. You play strictly for tips and nothing more,” Janson would explain. “There’s a whole class of us that know that you have no clue what roughing it is and struggling is until you’ve had to live off the tips in a jar and try to pay bills out of the tip jar. I wouldn’t have trade it for anything in the world. It taught me how to work and survive.”
Soon Chris Janson would be signed to BNA/Sony. However, after releasing a single and video, there was a shakeup with the record label. In the end, the same team behind Chris’s career would leave the company. There was a period of uncertainty of what would happen with his own career.
According to Chris, “I actually asked out of my record deal. No one canned me or fired me, I asked out. It just wasn’t right anymore. The whole regime that signed me wasn’t there after 4 months of being there. It didn’t feel right. However, there were no hard feelings. I’m just thankful I’m gone and I wasn’t put on a shelf and can still work.”
One thing he does love is being in the outdoors. That love of the outdoors, as well as a knack for songwriting lead to working with the Outdoor Channel. “Music has opened up so many doors for me,” Chris said. “I got a connection with Mossy Oak and wrote their theme song. I’ve written quite a bit of music, the score, and lyrics for several shows. You can’t beat making a living combining the two things I love – hunting and music.”
These days, Chris, along with wife Kelly, have a lot to live for. They recently celebrated the birth of their newborn baby girl, Georgia. Kelly Janson is also a reporter for the hit country music news series, Inside Music Row. Having someone who understands the music business has helped make their marriage and business matters work.
Be sure to check out Chris Janson online and download his music. His shows will leave you begging for more with the talent of bringing his heart and soul to those in attendance.
Jessica Bray is the owner and founder of Kentucky Country Music website. The Berea College graduate has been a music journalist and historian for over 20 years. She enjoys providing concert photography, reviews, historical articles, red carpet event coverage, and exclusive interviews of your favorite musicians. Jessica is proud to be a Kentucky Colonel and alumni of the FFA and 4-H Clubs. In 2018, she was named one of Laurel County’s Ten Under 40 Award Recipients. In 2019, she was a member of the Inaugural class of BRIGHT Kentucky as part of Leadership Kentucky. She has been featured on the Kentucky Music Preview podcast, Overtones radio show, WFKY Nashville News Roundup, KET, and more. Beyond music, she enjoys traveling, helping her community, collecting gnomes, and Volkswagens.