Chris Janson may claim Social Distortion as his favorite band and know his way around a hip-hop rhyme, but the “Buy Me a Boat” singer is also steeped in the tradition of country’s strong male vocalists. Chief among them: Merle Haggard. During a December appearance at the Grand Ole Opry, the Missouri native manifested his appreciation for the late songwriter with a faithful take on Haggard’s “My Favorite Memory.”
Originally released on Haggard’s 1981 Big City album, “My Favorite Memory” is a nostalgic ballad rich with imagery, as the Country Music Hall of Fame member recalls time with a past love. From how they met to how they made love in the hallway, Haggard lays it all out in detail, crooning in his signature style. For his version, Janson faithfully channels Hag, evoking his vocal delivery and letting the lyrics set the stage. (Watch the video above).
Janson is currently in the studio working on the follow-up to his Warner Music Nashville debut Buy Me a Boat. On Monday morning, he performed the single “Holdin’ Her” – which like “My Favorite Memory” recalls the birth of a romance – on the Today Show. Watch that performance below.