Nothing lives up to the expectation like being inducted into the Grand Ole Opry family. For Chris Janson, the accolade has been a lifelong goal that finally came to fruition on Tuesday night (3/20) when he was finally inducted into the revered association.
Admitting that his two career goals included having hits on radio and playing the Opry stage, Janson was jittery with excitement backstage at the Opry House in Nashville as he prepared to join an elite class of artists. Surrounded by his wife, their four kids and his own parents, the “Fix A Drink” singer could barely hold it together as the night went on.
At approximately 8:30 p.m., it was Janson’s turn to hit the stage for a moment he wouldn’t soon forget. Kicking off his set with “Buy Me A Boat,” it was clear that the audience was packed full of fans excited to be in attendance for a history-making evening. The summer smash was followed with his No.1, “Fix A Drink,” and a brief performance of Billy Joel’s “Piano Man” that led into the Top 30-and-rising, “Drunk Girl.”
As his third song concluded, Janson was invited to watch a video montage of his more than 100 times on the Opry stage that led to his induction. At the conclusion of the montage, reigning CMA Entertainer of the Year Garth Brooks was invited onstage to do the honor of welcoming the Missouri native into the Opry family.
“Driving in here, I passed a billboard…that says, ‘Welcome to the family,'” Brooks shared onstage before presenting Janson with his award. “Family’s a great name for this place. Another great name I heard for this place is church. Because any time you are at your lowest, these people are going to be there for you, and they expect the same out of you, and they’ll get the same out of you. I will tell you this: This will be, no matter how many times you look back at it, this will be the greatest night of your musical career. It was mine. I got to stand right here, and all I know to do is pass it down.”
Brooks handed the award over and stepped back to give Janson his moment in the spotlight, a moment that overwhelmed the youngest living member of the Opry.
“I don’t know anything other than country music,” he explained. “I really love it that much. Where I started, at Tootsie’s downtown–at that little honky-tonk downtown–13 years ago. I just remember watching Marty Stuart and multiple Opry stars going into the Ryman and thinking, ‘Dang, man. I just want to go there, and I just want to do that.’ I gotta tell you, I have two dreams that came true. One was getting on the radio and one was getting to the Opry.”
Janson was invited to join the Grand Ole Opry when Keith Urban surprised him during his headlining show at the Ryman. Urban was on hand to perform the song, “Sold,” with Janson, but later stayed onstage to extend a welcoming hand to the longtime institution.