A change in songwriting strategy is partly to credit for Chris Janson's new album, Buy Me a Boat, out today (October 30th). After two failed record deals, the Missouri native kept his chin up by keeping his songwriting momentum at a Nascar pace. But he stopped trying to write songs for himself, instead paying the bills with cuts by other artists, including Tim McGraw.
"Every song I've written in the last couple of years, I was always thinking of who's recording now, or who's looking for songs, or what I could do to write for somebody else and get another 'Truck Yeah,'" Janson tells Rolling Stone Country of his time between labels, and penning that huge hit for McGraw.
But then, along came "Buy Me a Boat," co-written by Janson and Chris DuBois. The singer-songwriter was so connected to the song that he couldn't stomach shopping it around, so he cut it himself and released it independently. The risk more than paid off, as country radio embraced the working man's anthem and made it one of the biggest hits of the summer.
Thus was born Janson's new record deal with Warner Music Nashville, and a full-album of similar, self-penned tunes that speak to the 29-year-old musician's affinity for writing what he knows.
"Every song on this record is just a simple song written by a simple dude — me," he says. "Every time I've tried to overthink something in my life it either failed, or I wasn't that proud of it. . . I can tell you right now that I'm never gonna make records I have to sit around and think about forever. I want to have fun with this stuff."
With Buy Me a Boat, Janson technically has another McGraw cut, as well. The two duet on the redemptive "Messin' With Jesus" — a song McGraw tells us he loved at first listen.