How a Pool Hall and a Green Dress Inspired Chris Janson’s ‘Done’
Chris Janson says his new single "Done" is his favorite song that he's ever written, but it was actually co-writer Mitch Oglesby who came up with the idea.
During a songwriting session, Oglesby pointed out that Janson says "done and done" often when he's serious about something, so he urged him to try to write a song that uses that phrase. Immediately the singer thought of his wife Kelly and they day they met.
"Done / The first time I saw you, done / Like the first dance was through, I was done / That one kiss, I knew / There was nothing I wouldn't do / Just to give you …" he sings to open the mid-tempo country lover.
Talking to Taste of Country Nights, the 30-something singer shared how he was shooting pool at Melrose Billiard Parlor, a basement dive bar just south of downtown Nashville. It's the kind of place that still stocks 40-ounce Miller High Life beers and lets you smoke cigarettes — not exactly the stuff fairytales are made of, but that's part of the story, too.
"She came walking down the stairs and that’s where I saw her for the first time, with the green dress and the brown boots and the whole deal," Janson recalls. "And so I literally just watched her the whole night. Just mesmerized. I just said, ‘Done and done, I’ll marry her.’”
It happened just like that — almost. At the time, Janson admits he was still rough around the edges. Very rarely will he sip a drink in 2020 (always at home, with his wife nearby), but back then he was known to throw 'em back. That was holding his career back, and she recognized that and told him as much after they became a couple.
“Done / All the hell I was raising, done / All the careless heartbreaking, done / For the chance that you'll taken / I spend my nights praying / And all my days chasing …”
“She said, ‘Man you have to get your s--t together and take this serious. It’s not just a hobby,'" Janson says. "And I did. And I wrote for one year, seven days a week for as many writes as I could per day, and I just cranked them out until I got ‘Truck Yeah.’”
"Truck Yeah" was a hit for Tim McGraw, and the was a break Janson needed after a couple of strikeouts with record labels. Soon after he'd write and record "Buy Me a Boat" and send it to syndicated radio host Bobby Bones, at his wife's urging. That launched his career as an artist and paved the way to his first, second and third studio albums.
"That house on a hill with a four-plank around it / Every last breath 'til the last star is counted / Just say the word girl, paint me, you're perfect / I won't quit 'til the good Lord says my work is done," Janson sings at each chorus. "Like a faded out song on the radio, done / Like the cowboy gets the girl when the credits roll / I'll give you a lifetime of days in the sun / Whatever you need and you want / I won't stop 'til it's done."
"Done" is the second single from Janson's Real Friends album. The Top 20 hit was written with help from Jamie Paulin and Matt Roy and follows "Good Vibes" as a radio offering. The music video features Janson and his wife Kelly around the house and on the beach. The couple married on July 4, 2010 and have two kids together, in addition to two from her previous marriage.
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