Chris Janson: Right at home

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Raised in the country, Janson familiar with rural setting

Editor’s note: This is the second in a four-part series previewing the Froggy Field Party, set for Sept. 10 at the Kentucky Renaissance Festival.

By Brett Waford
Special to the Local

When Chris Janson pulls into Eminence on Saturday, Sept. 10, for the Froggy Field Party 3, he’ll feel right at home.  He spent the first 18 years of his life at the end of a gravel road surrounded by corn and soybeans just like in Henry County.

Country boy Chris Janson was born and raised in Southern Missouri next to the Mississippi River in the small town of Perryville. He spent most of his childhood outdoors hunting, fishing, playing sports and working.  Chris was just eight years old when he started working a part time job farming, which included driving tractors and pitching hay.

Through his teenage years, Chris was busy playing sports and had a collection of odd jobs that included making snow cones, training horses and working at a vet clinic.

Music didn’t come into his life until he was around 11 years old.  He admits, “It was the easiest way to get a girlfriend.”  It was just a hobby that he had fun doing when he found time for it.    

When Chris graduated high school he had some college scholarship offers, but at 18 years old he decided to head to Nashville to pursue music.  He spent the first few days there living out of his car and roughing it.  Then the doorman at the historic Tootsie’s Orchid Lounge lent him a helping hand.  Chris wasn’t old enough to be in a bar so the doorman said, “I’ll put you on stage, but I got to lift you up there because you can’t step foot in here or we’ll get closed down.”  The owners happened to be the bar that night and gave him a gig on the spot.

After a year of playing four shows four times a day every day at Tootsies, Chris landed himself a publishing deal, which allowed him to get paid for the songs he wrote.  A few record deals came across the table too, but he didn’t feel the time was right and passed on them.  Even without the record deal the next couple of years were busy for Chris playing shows and writing songs.  

After that, Chris finally decided on a record deal with Sony that started a whirlwind of events in his life.  He had his debut single “Til’ a Woman Comes Along,” shot a video and went on a busy radio promotions tour.  

Currently Chris is focusing a lot of attention on his songwriting.  He’s trying to write the best songs possible and focus on the creative side of music.  His songwriting approach is to write songs that are relatable that he can believe in.  “If I can’t feel it, I can’t sing it,” he says.

During his live show he is known for his energetic performances and has been accused of having an alter ego.  He responds, “I’m a laid back guy.  Being on stage is an experience.”  He credits the fuel of his performances to the energy the crowd provides.  As far as the Froggy Field Party 3 goes, he says, “I have a feeling it’s all about the music.  I love that because I live it and breathe it everyday.”     

In addition to his music, Chris also works in the hunting business. He says, “I love to hunt, especially deer hunt.” He is a spokesman and songwriter for Mossy Oak and has penned several songs for the Outdoor Channel.    

Chris Janson admits to being happier right now than he has ever been in his entire life.  He says, “That’s just the grace of God, that’s no thing I did, that’s just a lot of prayer.”  He credits his family for helping him keep it all in perspective.  He believes, “You take everything with a grain of salt and remember music is fun.”          
Next up for Chris Janson, he’ll be playing at the Froggy Field Party 3 in Eminence on Saturday, September 10th at the Kentucky Renaissance Faire. 

To purchase tickets, visit your local Cowboys Food Store or go online to www.kyrenfaire.com.  For more info about the concert, visit www.myfroggy1049.com. You can hear the entire interview with Chris Janson this Friday at 4 p.m. on Froggy 104.9.

E-mail us about this article at editor@hclocal.com.