Living ‘all in’

An interview with Chris Janson

By Lyndsie Kiebert-Carey
Reader Staff

Those in North Idaho who love country music benefit from one of the genre’s most beloved subcategories: songs about being on the water. 

Whether it’s the legendary Craig Morgan hit “Redneck Yacht Club” or more contemporary contributions by the likes of Old Dominion or Little Big Town, living on Lake Pend Oreille makes these songs all the more meaningful.

Chris Janson will play the Festival at Sandpoitn Friday, July 29 at War Memorial Field. Courtesy photo.

One such track is “Buy Me a Boat,” which propelled Chris Janson to country stardom in recent years. Janson will play that song and many more when he takes the Festival at Sandpoint stage on Friday, July 29.

The Reader caught up with Janson ahead of his Sandpoint show to talk about writing hit songs and going “all in” with his latest contribution to country music.

Sandpoint Reader: Like a lot of country music fans, I first heard your music when “Buy Me a Boat” became the most popular song on the radio in summer 2015. After spending so many years trying to make it work in Nashville, did you ever think that would be the song to take you to the next level?

Chris Janson: My wife and I pretty much immediately knew we had something extra special with “Buy Me A Boat” — but I don’t think anyone could’ve predicted the crazy ride it took us on. That song literally changed our lives. We are very grateful for that. It became my first No. 1 song.   

SPR: Beyond your work as a recording artist, you’ve also made a name for yourself in the songwriting world. How does it feel to have someone like Tim McGraw bring your ideas to life? 

CJ: I’ve always been a fan of Tim’s music, and he has done a fantastic job with songs that I’ve helped write for him over the years. I’m very grateful to Tim and others for believing in my songs. It’s very humbling to have somebody record one. 

SPR: Tell me about All In. How does it compare to your previous releases? What makes you excited to share this new music with audiences?

CJ: All In was a very fitting title. I feel like I put it all into this album, and I believe it’s one of my best bodies of work to date. Out of all my albums, it’s by far my favorite. Some standouts, to me, are “Keys To The Country”; “Flag On The Wall”; “Reel Bass Pro”; “You, Me & The River”; “Thing You Can’t Live Without”; and “Cold Beer Truth.” Those are just some of my favorites.

SPR: More so than a lot of the country artists I read about, people like to talk about your live performances. Seems like there’s something special happening there. What makes a Chris Janson show memorable?

CJ: I love to play live music. It’s all I’ve ever really known. We bring the hits to the show! The more excited and engaged the audience, the better I play. Whether you’re a fan of “Buy Me A Boat,” “Fix A Drink,” “Good Vibes,” “Drunk Girl” or “Done,” there’s something for everybody. We aim to please and have a good time.

Catch Chris Janson, as well as openers LOCASH, at the Festival at Sandpoint on Friday, July 29. The box office opens at 5 p.m., general admission and season pass holders enter the gates at 6 p.m. and music starts at 7:30 p.m.

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