Chancey Williams went to college riding saddle broncs in the rodeo. He even made it to the college national finals a few times during his rodeo career.
But in his spare time he also had a cover band, and would play at those same rodeos after he got off the horse.
Then he realized he had to make a decision:
“The more we grew as a band, we started getting bigger and bigger dates and making more money.
I would say I was doing kind of average at both at that point. I wasn’t riding broncs as good as I should have, and I wasn’t probably playing as good as we should have.
My dad said ‘Pick one you want to do and just do it really good.’
It was a hard decision. I loved riding bucking horses but I figured I could sing and play music a lot longer than I could ride saddle broncs, so I ended up in music.”
It was a decision that worked out pretty well for Chancey. He’s one of only two artists who have both competed at Cheyenne Frontier Days and played the main stage – and the other is the legendary Chris LeDoux.
And recently, he became one of only a handful of artists from the great state of Wyoming to step into the historic circle at the Grand Ole Opry.
“I think today, where this is such high profile, I’d almost rather get on a bucking horse today. Just because this is so nerve racking.
Once you’re in the routine of riding all the time your nerves kinda go away. And they do in music too, but I guess the high level of this stage is making me a little nervous.
But I think it’s all good for excitement too. It’s excited nervous.”
And Chancey wasn’t alone on the stage: He was able to bring his entire band with him for his debut, something that most artists aren’t able to do.
“The band that I play with, and have for a long time, we’re family. We live on those buses year-round.
And that’s why when we got asked to play the Opry, typically they have the Opry band play, who are some of the best players in the world. But I respectfully asked, I was like, ‘I wouldn’t be playing here today without them. We all kind of got here together.’
I also feel like the fans and the audience can see it too. There’s an energy that our show brings to our fans, that when they see us they know that we’re friends. They can just feel it.”
The energy was definitely in the room at the Grand Ole Opry that night when Chancey took the stage for his debut. It might not have been quite as rowdy as playing for a rodeo crowd, but it seemed like the Wyoming native was playing in front of a hometown crowd based on the reaction that he got from his performance of “The Saint,” along with the title track from his newest album One of These Days.
It’s an energy that Chancey attributes to the authenticity in his songs – something that’s sometimes missing in country music:
“I think the world in general, because of the last few years, is searching for super authentic stuff. I think that’s one of the reason for our success. It doesn’t get more authentic than us.”
He may be an authentic cowboy, but when he stepped into that circle, there was no doubt that he’s an authentic country star too.
Check out the full video from behind the scenes of Chancey’s Opry debut here: