Chris grew up in the small town of Pulaski, TN, where the local store had a sign reading, “Population: 99, More or Less.” Growing up, Chris would earn his weekly allowance helping his dad do odd jobs around the county to provide the family a little extra money. While riding to the job sites, Chris and his dad would sing to the radio. His dad noticed his son’s talent and always encouraged him to sing. But at that time, Chris just had girls, sports, and his allowance on the brain. However, if there was a family gathering, the only way he could earn his allowance was if he sang. “Growing up, I was always way too nervous to sing. The only way you could get me to was by holding my allowance ransom.”
But ask Chris how he first started playing music, and he’ll tell you that his parents bought him a mandolin that Christmas he was 14. “I guess it truly started there, but I’ve been hooked on country music since I was in a crib thanks to dad.” Being raised by a man who loved the music of Merle, Waylon, Willie, and Jones made their songs second nature to him.
As a standout football player, Chris had an opportunity to play at the college level, but things didn’t fall into place as he had hoped, and he found himself working in the real world. Searching for something to fill the void that sports left, Chris finally found the answer in music. A bad car accident almost cost him his life. After 28 days in a coma, over a month in the ICU, four months in a wheelchair, and 22 surgeries later, Chris took up the guitar. “I figured if I’m going to have to lie on this couch rehabbing all the time, I want to learn to play.”
He taught himself from the internet, then auditioned for a frontman slot in a house band four nights a week at Sundance Saloon in Muscle Shoals, Alabama. “I went from playing for my girlfriend to playing for 500+ people a night on the weekends. Six months later, he was recruiting Nashville-based musicians to play with him at various nightspots and dance halls in Tennessee. By the end of 2010, the friends he had recruited started recruiting him to move to Nashville. In the sumer of 2011 he officially made Music City home. Now he is an endorsed artist with GHS Springs, Taylor Guitars, and Clayton Picks, as well as other great companies, playing over 200 shows a year.
His songs and singing style reflects the music that surrounded him growing up. Merle Haggard, Johnny Cash, Hank Williams, Alan Jackson, Travis Tritt, and Reba influence him. But his music is also flavored by the eclectic rock music he listened to as a teenager: Lynyrd Skynyrd, Marshall Tucker, Pearl Jam, Tom Petty, CCR, Jimi Hendrix, Smashing Pumpkins, and the Foo Fighters, among others. Mix in a dash of contemporary country, and you have a soulful, rocking style of traditional country music that is Chris Shrader’s sound alone.
You can find Chris electrifying stages and earning his allowance song by song as he did when he was a boy.