Chris Janson brings the country hits to Hollywood Casino at Charles Town Races

Hear our full conversation on my podcast “Beyond the Fame.”

WTOP's Jason Fraley previews Chris Janson at Hollywood Casino (Part 1)

He’s been steadily rattling off hits on country music radio for years. Next week, Chris Janson plays Hollywood Casino at Charles Town Races in West Virginia on Sept. 9.

“It’s gonna be an awesome night,” Janson told WTOP. “We’re gonna be playing all the hits from ‘Buy Me a Boat’ to ‘Done’ to ‘Drunk Girl’ to ‘Good Vibes’ to ‘Fix a Drink’ and all of those in between, and yes, we will be playing at least several from the new ‘All In’ album.”

Born in Missouri in 1986, Janson moved to Nashville after high school and began writing songs for other artists, including “Truck Yeah” for Tim McGraw. In 2015, he released his own major-label debut album “Buy Me a Boat,” featuring a hit title track that admits, “Money can’t buy you happiness, but it can buy me a boat and a truck to pull it.”

“I looked outside and in the back of my truck I had a Yeti cooler and I thought exactly what the words say, ‘I ain’t rich, but I damn sure wanna be,'” Janson said. “I’ve always written what I know and how I feel, and ‘Buy Me a Boat’ was my feelings for the day. We cranked it out and it turned out to be my first big No. 1 and it put me on the map in a really big way.”

His second album, “Everybody” (2017), included the hit song “Fix a Drink,” where the narrator flips back and forth between cable news on Fox News and CNN. Ultimately, he realizes that he can’t fix the problems of the world, but he can damn sure fix a drink.

“It was such a simple ditty basically on the back porch,” Janson said. “A buddy of mine brought the title in and I said that sounds like a hit. Between flipping back and forth between the news, anybody can relate to just getting annoyed watching it. … It’s a bit overbearing, it’s depressing sometimes, so I just try to stay positive in my life.”

That same album explored the flip side of alcohol in “Drunk Girl,” raising a generation of listeners to be gentlemen and “take a drunk girl home,” something they won’t regret.

“As a parent, I want my daughters to be treated with great respect and I want my sons to maybe even be more reverent and respectful to the situation, especially in the dating world,” Janson said. “I wrote that with them in mind and it started really translating with people in a big way. … It changed a lot of lives and it opened a lot of eyes.”

His third album, “Real Friends” (2019), delivered “Good Vibes,” a summer staple with the refrain, “I’m gettin’ them good vibes, I’m livin’ this good life, I’m breathin’ on God’s time.”

“You have the ability as a human to set the narrative of your day,” Janson said. “No matter how bad things get sometimes, I figure if you wake up, you’re blessed to be alive. We live in the greatest country on earth here in America, it’s a free country, you can be who you want to be, you can live the American dream, that’s what ‘Good Vibes’ is all about.”

He also showed his romantic side in “Done,” telling his sweetheart, “I’ll give you a lifetime of days in the sun, whatever you need and you want, I won’t stop until it’s done.”

“My wife Kelly is my best friend,” Janson said. “She’s just awesome. She’s my favorite person in the world. I always say we’re friends outside of our marriage. We have a very unique relationship, we love each other, we are in love, but are also friends. … I wrote that song all about her, for her, it just happened to translate with masses of audiences.”

WTOP's Jason Fraley previews Chris Janson at Hollywood Casino (Part 2)

Hear our full conversation on my podcast “Beyond the Fame.”

Jason Fraley

Hailed by The Washington Post for “his savantlike ability to name every Best Picture winner in history," Jason Fraley began at WTOP as Morning Drive Writer in 2008, film critic in 2011 and Entertainment Editor in 2014, providing daily arts coverage on-air and online.

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