Eric Church surprised the crowd at Country Jam in Grand Junction, Colorado with a special guest, his friend Chris Janson.
On Thursday (June 23), Church welcomed Janson to the stage during his headlining set after a brief introduction.
“This next song… I’m going to do a surprise, kind of special thing here. A good buddy of mine played before me, Mr. Chris Janson, and we had a chance to record together earlier this year,” Church said. “We have not really done this since we were in the recording studio, but I’m never on the stage with him and never get a chance to be. So, we thought tonight as a debut at Country Jam, we would try this.”
Janson then joined Church to deliver the live debut of their fan-favorite duet “You, Me & The River.”
“You, Me & The River” was written solely by Church and marks the first song Janson has cut that he didn’t have a hand in writing.
“Hey buddy, hey buddy, ain’t that Mississippi muddy / In this town, well, yeah, she takes what you give her / So tonight I lay me down to sleep / And pray my soul and my secret to keep / Between you, me and the river,” Janson and Church sing on the chorus.
Janson revealed that he was actually pitched “You, Me & The River” by Church via text.
“I just said, ’You know what? I would record this. The song is pretty badass,” Janson recalled. “I was like, ’You wanna do a duet?’ He hit me back. ’I’m in.’ I was like, ’Oh my God, I can’t even believe it.’ I told (my wife), I guess I’m doing an Eric Church duet for the new album.”
The pair have gone on to form a friendship and Janson says it’s “been amazing.”
“You, Me & The River” isn’t the only song Church contributed to on Janson’s new album, All In, as Church also co-wrote another track on the project, “Flag On The Wall.”
Janson and Church recently brought their duet to life with a haunting new music video.
Directed by Church’s longtime collaborator, Reid Long, the black and white clip opens with Church dragging a body into a river. Janson then appears driving to a wooded area to bury a body that later appears to be Church.
The storyline, which plays out like a mini-movie, intertwines with clips of Janson and Church in what appears to be an interrogation room while singing the song as if they were being questioned about a murder.
The two appear to be haunting each other in other scenes of the soul-stirring clip.
Janson recently spoke with CMT about “pretty intense” filming process and compared the music video to the Netflix drama series, Ozark.
“At the end of the day, this video was a blast to make – but it was creepy too, and that was fun in a whole new way!” Janson added. “It was real acting. And Eric Church is a trooper, man. He said, ’Throw a bunch of dirt on my face.’ So I covered my buddy up in dirt on a cold spring night. Like I said… creepy!”
“You, Me & The River” Appears On Chris Janson’s New Album All In
Out now, All In features 16 tracks, including his Eric Church collaboration and another duet with Travis Tritt. The project also includes his latest single, “Bye Mom,” as well as the previously released songs “Cold Beer Truth,” and “Keys To The Country.”
“The title ‘All In’ epitomizes this album,” Janson previously shared. “There are all kinds of songs on this project, but they all flow together because they are genuine to me. I went all in on every part of the process, from writing to singing to playing to producing. I feel like it’s my best, most true-to-myself album to date.”
Co-produced by Janson alongside Tommy Cecil, Zach Crowell and Brad Clawson, All In includes co-writes with some of Nashville’s most sought-after songwriters, including Church, Ashley Gorley, David Lee Murphy, Rhett Akins, Casey Beathard, Dallas Davidson and more.