While lots of children and their parents know Shel Silverstein as the author of beloved books like The Giving Tree and Where the Sidewalk Ends, Friday night, Chris Janson remembers him for his music.
The “Fix a Drink” hitmaker performs songs Silverstein wrote for the likes of Johnny Cash and Bob Dylan, as the Academy of Country Music posthumously honors him with its Poet’s Award.
“I've been a fan,” Chris tells ABC Radio. “Everybody knows his children's books, but… when you really get into this guy's catalog, he is way more legit than just being a 20-million bookseller…”
Chris isn’t too proud to admit that mastering Silverstein’s tunes wasn’t easy.
“'A Boy Named Sue' is freaking awesome, he wrote it by himself. And then 'Cover of the Rolling Stone,' which I'm super stoked about… I've known that song for years,” he explains.
“But when you start dissecting these things, as an artist or as a songwriter, and you have to play these songs, and you've got to get them right, it's pretty challenging, I'm not gonna lie...”
“I take a lot of pride in songwriting” Chris goes on, “and I know how it is to dissect my own songs. Dissecting somebody like that who's honestly a brilliant genius savant, it's hard for a guy like me. So I've never practiced a day in my life in music, except for this past six days. And I've been practing my a** off.”
You can watch for Chris’s Shel Silverstein tribute when the 11th Annual ACM Honors airs Friday night at 9 p.m. ET on CBS. Also on the show: Kelsea Ballerini, Toby Keith, Reba McEntire, Dolly Parton, George Strait, Thomas Rhett, Jason Aldean and many more.
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