When Chris Janson’s workingman’s anthem “Buy Me a Boat” shot to the top of the iTunes country chart in March, it set off a ripple of career changes for the indie singer-songwriter. In a few short weeks, he signed a record deal with Warner Music Nashville, landed the opening slot on Toby Keith’s summer tour and, this morning, made his network television debut. Janson performed his buoyant single — currently Number 22 on Billboard‘s Hot Country Songs chart — on NBC’s Today.
“When I wake up every day, it’s a good day. When I wake up in country music, it’s a great day,” Janson said, while navigating the hug fest that is Today‘s fourth hour hosts Hoda Kotbe and Kathie Lee Gifford. Launching the song with its simple acoustic guitar intro, Janson saved all his energy for the lyrics, singing with a broad grin about hitting the lottery and purchasing that titular boat. Seizing the TV moment, he added an impromptu harmonica breakdown to the bridge, showing off the harp skills for which he’s become known in Nashville. He recently was in the studio recording harmonica on a new song for Hank Williams Jr., whose face adorned Janson’s T-shirt on Today.
Currently opening Keith’s Good Times & Pickup Lines Tour, Janson will return to Nashville this weekend to perform for his 100th time on the Grand Ole Opry on Saturday night. He’s also set to play on June 10th’s CMT Music Awards. The country music network has championed Janson and recently filmed a video for “Buy Me a Boat,” which will premiere next week.
“I take this stuff day by day. I want to grow it the most natural way possible, and the fact that anybody would pay attention and come calling, I’m thankful for that,” Janson told Rolling Stone Country earlier this spring. “My ears are open and I’m looking forward to what tomorrow brings.”