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A line from one of my songs says a lot about my style: “What’s wrong with rockers driving pick-ups -- Johnny Cash was wearing black before Sid Vicious.”
The desire to blend two seemingly opposite worlds is at the heart of my sound, which combines pure country with rock themes, a driving guitar and my signature harmonica. The dichotomy also represents me in many ways – part small town country boy, part showman.
At about ten years old, I started playing guitar when my grandpa, Jay Bowling, taught me three chords -- and I took it from there. With that foundation I taught myself to play, and have never looked back. "Keep Your Hands to Yourself" by the Georgia Satellites was the first song I mastered, a somewhat mature subject matter I will admit.
I was born in Perryville, Missouri and grew up an only child, which may explain why I was drawn to music and performing at such an early age. Perryville was a small farming community, and my family was typical of the town – not rich, not poor, just middle of the road. I pursued a variety of jobs throughout my childhood and teenage years to make extra money, from working at a sno cone shack to training horses and even teaching at a veterinary clinic. On the side I played music, performing in bars from the age of 11. I chose Nashville over college, even though I had been offered a full scholarship, and after spending three nights sleeping in my car, I landed a gig at Tootsies Orchid Lounge. After my first performance, the management of the legendary night spot believed in me and I continued to play Tootsies seven days a week, four shows a day for the next year. I was noticed by movie director, Jonathan Demme, who offered me a small part in the film "Heart of Gold" with Neil Young. My shows at Tootsies eventually came to be frequented by celebrities, including Guns and Roses, Rob Reiner, Neil Young, and many others.
I am singer and instrumentalist, playing guitar, harmonica, bass, banjo, piano, mandolin, drums, and dobro. I am also a songwriter, with five songs recorded by other artists so far to my credit. I also am pleased to have written and recorded the theme song for the Outdoor Channel television show "Hunting the Country with Mossy Oak” and have my own show with Mossy Oak, entitled "Mossy Oak's Hunting the Country with Chris Janson".
Since 2005 I’ve opened for the likes of Hank Williams Jr., Shooter Jennings, and Sugarland, and have toured Europe as the lead singer in “Moonshine” sessions. I have shared the stage with Rodney Crowell, Velvet Revolver, Emilou Harris, Trace Adkins, Lonestar, Hank Williams, Jr., and a host of other performers that span several musical genres.
I credit a wide variety of artists as the source of my inspiration, individuals as diverse in their styles as Hank Williams and Waylon Jennings to the Rolling Stones and Black Crows, but it all comes down to my fans and hopefully they will continue to believe for a long time in what I am doing.