In an era of singles and EPs, Chris Janson has gone above and beyond with his new album, All In, which includes 16 new songs that are summer-ready.
Due to the circumstances of the past two years, Janson had more time to put everything together for his fourth album, which also led to more creative freedom. He truly went all in, co-writing 15 of the 16 tracks and co-producing all 16 songs.
“It was a real free time to be creative and expressive with music and kind of just steer the ship the way I wanted it to go without any rules, which was pretty fun,” said Janson.
Janson fuses his energetic personality with relatable rural experiences into a summer soundtrack. All In is the perfect playlist for a road trip, a day on the water, or a backyard barbeque.
The expansive album also includes all-star collaborations with Eric Church and Travis Tritt.
Janson formed a friendship with Eric Church during a television special at the Grand Ole Opry House, which led to the pair writing and recording together. Church initially broke the ice, Janson recalls, by telling him, “Damn man, I hope you don’t play more of that harmonica tonight!” They exchanged phone numbers and a few days later, Church invited Janson to go fishing. “We fished from basically sun up to sun down and smoked some cigars and I drank a bunch of Mountain Dews,” he laughed. “It was a pretty good day. We talked about life and our wives and our kids. We have so much in common. He and I, we kind of came up the same way.”
The friendship evolved into writing together, starting with “Flag on the Wall,” which began as a text message from Church to Janson in the pre-dawn hours of an elk hunting trip in the Colorado Rockies. ”Just as the sun was coming up, my phone started buzzing in my pocket and it was Church. He had sent me a little snippet of a song real early, like 5:45 in the morning and said, ‘What do you think?’ And it was not done. It was just a couple verses and that kind of thing. And little bit of a chorus. And I said, ‘I love it,’ which I did.”
Not only did Janson record the song that he wrote with Church, but the singer-songwriter also took a step outside his comfort zone and recorded a song written exclusively by someone else.
Janson was on his way back to Nashville from a fishing trip in Whitefish, Montana when he received a text message from Church in the middle of the night. “He had sent me a full-blown song of like this work tape demo,” Janson recalled. “And he said, ‘This is kind of dark and eerie, but, what do you think about it?’”
Even though Janson liked the song, he was hesitant about recording an outside song, so he asked Church to sing on it with him. Church wrote “You Me and the River” by himself, but co-produced the track with Janson and sang on it as well. The duet partners also filmed a cinematic music video for the track, which Janson is optimistic could be an award winner, saying “I certainly think it could be a video of the year winner.”
In addition to Church, Janson also brought on another kindred spirit, Travis Tritt, to record a song with him. Janson said he had a gut feeling to ask Tritt about the potential collaboration and he received an enthusiastic yes within minutes of messaging him. Janson traveled to Georgia with co-producer, Tommy Cecil, to record “Things You Can’t Live Without” in Tritt’s studio. “He absolutely crushed it, just like I knew he would,” said Janson. “It’s one of my favorite collaborations to date.”
He felt honored to not only record the song with Tritt, but also develop a friendship with the “T-R-O-U-B-L-E” singer. “Travis is a great guy and turned out to be a really good friend,” shared Janson.
Janson commended both Tritt and Church for being open to the collaborations and making time for both the studio recordings and the music videos. “It means a lot to me personally. They didn’t have to do it. And I recognize that,” said Janson. “They’re taking a chance on me and we took a chance on each other, so I’m glad it worked out. I think they’re the most natural, comfortable of collaborations I’ve ever had by far.”
When fans listen to the rest of All In, they’ll hear Janson’s familiar sound with one exception. He decided to experiment with a retro style on the track “Love Don’t Sleep.” Janson admitted that he’s a visual person first when it comes to his writing process. For the disco-inspired song, Janson envisioned the movie Urban Cowboy with “cowboy hats and pointed-toe boots, shuffling around a dance floor and Mickey Gilley playing in the background.” Janson also referenced one surprising inspiration – Kacey Musgraves’ “High Horse.” He shared that he “loved the feel of that song and just that kind of overall vibe.”
The “Good Vibes” singer hopes that he brings some happiness and positivity to listeners with All In.
“My number one goal with all albums and all shows is to give someone a positive experience and a reason to smile and remember why they are so blessed to be alive, which is air in your lungs, living in a free country if you’re American …And I think just being grateful for that overall experience is something that something to really celebrate,” said Janson.
All In track listing:
1. Keys To The Country (Chris Janson/Dallas Davidson/Ashley Gorley/Zach Crowell)
2. We Did It Anyway (Chris Janson/Dallas Davidson/Ashley Gorley/Chris Stevens)
3. Cold Beer Truth (Brad Clawson/Mitch Oglesby/Rob Pennington/Chris Janson)
4. You, Me & The River (feat. Eric Church) (Erich Church)
5. Halfway To Crazy (Chris Janson/Rhett Akins/Dallas Davidson/Ben Hayslip)
6. Bye Mom (Chris Janson/Brandon Kinney)
7. Love Don’t Sleep (Chris Janson/Mitch Oglesby/David Frasier/John Edwards)
8. The Reel Bass Pro (Chris Janson/Mitch Ogelsby/Shane Profitt)
9. Too Far Gone (Chris Janson/Marv Green/Ben Hayslip)
10. Flag On The Wall (Chris Janson, Eric Church)
11. All In (Chris Janson/Dallas Davidson/Ashley Gorley/Zach Crowell)
12. Here and Gone (Chris Janson, Casey Beathard)
13. Things You Can’t Live Without (feat. Travis Tritt) (Chris Janson/David Lee Murphy/Deric Ruttan/Chris Stevens)
14. Small Town Big Time (Chris Janson/Jimmy Yeary/Tim Nichols)
15. You Never Did (Chris Janson)
16. My American World (Chris Janson, Kelly Roland, Shane Profitt)