On Monday night, Chris Janson had a sold-out show at the “Mother Church” of country music – the Ryman Auditorium. Janson has never made any secrets about his affection for the history of country music, and has made classic-country songs a staple of his shows. He has played the Grand Ole Opry in Nashville over 200 times, but on Monday night another dream came true for the Missouri-born singer – he was invited to join the iconic institution.
Playing the Grand Ole Opry is a big deal for Janson. Even before he had his first number-one single, “Buy Me a Boat”, Janson was a regular on the Opry. Visitors could tell that Janson was star-struck at the Opry when Opry-veterans like Jeannie Seely, Ricky Skaggs or Bill Anderson would introduce him on stage.
Early in his career, Janson opened shows for the legendary Merle Haggard. Opening the show for Haggard in Chattanooga at the Memorial Auditorium several years ago, Janson’s set list included his own songs and songs from George Jones, Waylon Jennings and Hank Williams, Sr. On stage, Janson’s high-energy performances wow audiences with rockin’ renditions of outlaw-country favorites and he displays his vocal abilities with classic country love ballads mixed in with his own.
Janson played the Chattooga County Agricultural Fair the first year the fair came back to Chattooga County. He was the first nationally-known artist to play the fair. At the time, Janson had not charted on the national charts but was already becoming a regular on the Grand Ole Opry.
On February 6th, Janson had a sold-out show at the Ryman and was excited that his friend, Opry-member Kieth Urban, would be joining him on stage. Janson expected to do a couple of songs with Urban, but got the surprise of his life when Urban delivered the message inviting Janson to become a member of the Grand Ole Opry.
Janson told The Tennessean (Click Here to Read More) newspaper, “I’ve never really been surprised in my life other than when my wife said ‘yes,’ and when we found out were were pregnant. The third biggest, and it’s totally unrelated is the Opry. I don’t get surprised. I hate surprises. I thoroughly loved this one, and I was totally shocked.”
Janson says that as a member of the Grand Ole Opry, he wants to “shine a light” on the Opry members that have gone before him, continuing his respect for traditional country music.