Back in April, Chris Janson dropped All In, his fourth career studio album, featuring the lead single “Bye Mom” and newly announced follow up single, “Keys To The Country.”
Janson co-wrote every song on the album with the exception of one: A spine-chilling little murder ballad written by none other than Eric Church.
A solo write from Church, the haunting “You, Me & The River” tells the story of a man who gets revenge on his cheating woman and the man she’s with by dumping their bodies in the Mississippi River.
“Hey buddy, hey buddy ain’t that Mississippi muddy And this time of year, she takes what you give her So tonight I’ll lay me down to sleep And pray my soul and a secret to keep Between you, me, and a river…”
They also released a music video, showing the two dragging the adulterous couple’s bodies down to their final resting place in the muddy river.
And this past week, the duo finally got to perform the song live together for the first time.
The debut performance came during Eric’s headlining set at Country Jam in Colorado – and it just so happened that Chris was in the house after he had performed right before Church.
Woulda been pretty awesome to hear that one live for the first time.
Eric Church Sent Chris Janson “You, Me & The River” In The Middle Of The Night
So how did this murder ballad from the desk of Eric Church get to Chris Janson? As it turns out, Janson got the message at three in the morning with an Eric Church work tape.
According to an interview with Music Row, Janson had just landed from a late flight:
“I got a text message when I landed from White Fish, Montana. I was playing in Montana and also did some fishing there, ironically. I landed in the wee hours of the morning back in Nashville and I got a ping on my phone.
It was the work tape of “You, Me & The River.” Not even a demo, just a guitar vocal of Church singing it. It was really eerie sounding and dark and ominous.
He texted me and said, ‘This is a little dark, but see what you think about it.’ It was like 3:30 in the morning and I listened to it and I’m like, ‘Dang, this is kind of scary, in a good way.’”
So Janson decided to take a shot and ask him to duet it.
And it worked:
“I texted him back, I didn’t think he would be up that time, and said, ‘I love this.’ I just threw it out there. If you don’t dream big, how are you going to win big? What’s the worst that could happen?
So I hit him back and I was like, ‘I love this. Why don’t we do a duet?’ He hit me right back and said, ‘I’m in.’
It was a really incredible moment. I’ll never forget it. Eric came into the studio. We co-produced it together and we recorded it live together with the band. It was really an organic process and really cool. He could not be a greater friend and even mentor in a lot of ways.”