The reigning CMA Entertainer of the Year turned out Tuesday night to induct the newest member of the Grand Ole Opry. But at the news conference a couple hours earlier, Chris Janson didn’t know Garth Brooks was waiting in the wings -- he was more focused on his family.
“My daughter thinks this is where she can put on her new dress and her lipstick -- at six years old,” Chris laughed. “‘And we're going to hang out with dad and his singing friends.’”
The “Fix a Drink” hitmaker’s four kids and his wife Kelly were all on hand for the biggest night in his career so far -- all dressed appropriately, of course.
“My youngest, he's all about custom cowboy boots…” Chris went on. “If they've got something, like a bullhead on them or something, he's like, 'I want those.' So he likes to wear his cowboy boots here.”
Even before his induction, Chris was already outlining his Opry goals -- and he’d done his homework.
“I think I'm the youngest living member of the Opry now at this point…” he explained. “I want to be that young Opry member who's hosting and introducing people and inviting people and telling the stories because I can tell 'em like nobody else does, I can promise you, because I study this stuff. Like, I watched every single invitation and induction video on YouTube preparing for this. I watched 'em all last night.”
Both Chris and the entire sold-out Opry crowd were blown away when Garth made a surprise appearance to do the honors.
“I will tell you this,” Garth said, as he presented Chris with his Opry member trophy, “this will be, no matter how many times you look back on it, the greatest night in your music career…”
“All I know to do is just pass it down,” Garth added, “What Johnny Russell said to me -- he put his arm around me, as I was sitting here crying in this circle of wood, and he said, 'Enjoy it son.'”
Chris called his family out as he accepted -- and there was no doubt they were all enjoying it.
“How do you not cry during this?” he said tearfully. “… Thank you to my wife Kelly for sticking by me in every single minute of the way. For just having my back even in times where I didn't have my own. And my kids, for having my back, and just not even caring what I do for a living, just thinking 'Whatever, dad. Let's fish,’” he quipped, as the audience laughed.
Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.