Chris Janson at Rocky-Tonk Saloon

Nashville's rising country star Chris Janson calls his forthcoming debut "autobiographical. He wrote all of the songs on the album — stories about where he's been, what he's done, where he's going, life, love and good times.

Janson, on guitar and harmonica, and his four-piece band will play at 9:30 p.m. Friday, July 12, at The Rocky-Tonk Saloon & Grill, 333 E. Main St., Medford. Local country band Billy Lund & Whiskey Weekend will open the show at 9 p.m.

Eight years ago, Janson was just an 18-year-old kid, living out of his '99 Monte Carlo. One night, he showed up at Tootsie's Orchid Lounge in downtown Nashville and asked to sing a song. He sang "Folsom Prison Blues" and, after a remarkable performance, secured a place in Tootsie's house band.

"I come from a stone-cold country music background," Janson says. "Southern Missouri is where I grew up. I didn't grow up with money, and I worked for everything I had. It's work hard and 'Thank you, Lord' in my eyes."

The gig at Tootsie's paved the way for Janson to tour with Lynyrd Skynyrd and Hank Williams Jr. He also has shared the stage with Emmylou Harris, Trace Adkins, Merle Haggard and Lonestar, and co-wrote "Truck Yeah" with Tim McGraw.

Janson's new album, produced by Keith Stegall (Zack Brown Band and Alan Jackson), will be released later this year and will feature his original music, including his Top 40 country radio single, "Better I Don't," which he wrote with his wife, Kelly Lynn Roland, in just 45 minutes.

Janson says his original music features elements of both classic and contemporary country.

"I just put Chris Janson out there," he says. "Like it or don't like it."

Tickets to the show at the Rocky-Tonk cost $15. Call 541-973-2888 or see for more information.

— Teresa Thomas

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