A fortunate few come to Nashville and find a home in the city’s historic honky-tonk district. Then there are those incredibly rare talents who manage to set it on fire. Chris Janson is one of the latter.
Chris came to Nashville at 18 and pleaded with the doorman at the legendary Tootsie’s Orchid Lounge for the chance to sing one song with the house band. Not long after he’d finished “Folsom Prison Blues,” the bar’s owners offered him a job.
Virtually overnight, Chris became the talk of the Nashville music scene. Crowds packed Tootsie’s to experience this Missouri-born musician, who could own an audience the way just a handful of his idols, a compelling and charismatic group of country and rock greats that range from Waylon to the Ramones, could do. For the next year he played four shows a day.
Chris began performing at the age of 11, although he didn’t choose music as a career path until the summer after high school. He’d earned a scholarship to attend college to study veterinary medicine, but decided to try Nashville instead. With his parents’ blessing, he took off with a few hundred dollars and quickly landed the Tootsie’s gig.
His audience quickly began to include celebrities. Director Jonathan Demme saw Chris and offered him a small part in the Neil Young concert film Heart of God. Young, Rob Reiner, members of Guns N’ Roses and many others came by to watch him perform. On one memorable night that looked like a convention of Music Row executives, he was offered record, publishing, booking, and management deals. He toured Europe with Lynyrd Skynyrd and Hank Williams, Jr., he has shared the stage with Merle Haggard and Florida Georgia Line, and has written with Rodney Crowell and Duff McKagan, among others.
He is most impressive on stage, bringing an array of strengths into the spotlight. He is an accomplished singer/songwriter, a dynamic multi-instrumentalist, a compelling vocalist, and an unforgettable entertainer. The music, while drawing on a range of influences, is nonetheless solid country and unmistakably Chris Janson. With his wealth of experience, talent and intensity, he is one of Music City’s most promising and exciting young talents.