At the age of 28, Chris Young has landed five consecutive No. 1 country singles, co-writing four of them, and is about to launch his fourth album, “A.M.,” due Sept. 17. It includes the single “Aw Naw,” which is already climbing the charts. Two years ago, Young won ACA’s breakthrough artist of the year award and single of the year.
Of course, the album will be supported with Young’s first major headlining tour, although he’s done plenty of headlining dates recently along with touring with Brad Paisley. It follows tours with Miranda Lambert and Jason Aldean.
Things are getting good. Young called in for a 15-minute chat Aug. 2.
Are you having one of those “press days”?
Yes, but not it’s too bad. This is one of the thousands of reasons why I love my manager: We’ve set it up where Fridays are the mornings where I know I’m getting up and I know I have my interviews scheduled for that day. I know when they’re coming and I’m ready for them. I’ve only had about four this morning. Not bad.
We recall interviewing Jennifer Nettles when Sugarland was launching its first album, and she was on hour 12 of her “press day.”
I can’t say I haven’t done those too, where I’ve been sitting in a studio, looking through glass and calling everybody. Oh man, those are rough.
But you’re preparing for an album. Has there been an uptick in the amount of press you’re doing?
Well, I can tell you this: Not only has there been an uptick in interviews and press and other stuff, but I don't usually do it toward the end of an album so you forget about it for a while, then it comes back and hits you again. But I fly home after our last show this run. We’ve been out for a couple weeks. We’re in Washington and then we run down toward California, hop on a plane, fly to Nashville and then, for the next three and a half days all I’m doing is press. So, yeah, there’s definitely an uptick for the album. I think the numbers 9/17 are burned into my brain at this point.
Has anyone – such as your label – told you anything about where it may debut?
You know, what’s funny is I haven’t talked to anyone at my label about anticipation. I know there’s three records coming out the same week but, really, the biggest thing for me is regardless of that I really want to compete against myself. I want to compete against the last debut number. So, to me, if we beat that number I’m happy regardless of where the album lands on the chart.
I’ve never had an album debut at No. 1 on the chart but I’ve had No. 1 songs. The last album I did was No. 2 because Blake Shelton came out the same week. It’s always been one of those things but I’ve got a gold record on my wall. I’m just trying to better what I did with the last release.
Which album track – meaning one that will not come out as a single – do you like the most?
There’s a song that I don’t think will come out as a single just because of the instrumentation. It’s called “Text Me, Texas” that was written by Rhett Akins, Shane McAnally and Josh Osborne. It’s just got this really cool slack-groove, and it’s almost acoustically driven with a cajon feel. I just love the way it’s written.
I think it’s got some of the coolest lines. There’s a line in the second verse – and I hate when people line songs and here I am about to do a little bit of it – but it says “I pray what you ain’t sayin’ don’t mean what all my friends say it means / Maybe you can give me just a couple of lines that I can read between.”
Man that’s just some really cool songwriting. It’s one of those songs where I said, “Damn, why didn’t I write that?” So we had to cut it for the record. I don’t know if it’s a radio song but I’ve already had people that have heard it live – when I did my first foray into headlining at the end of last year – and some of the diehard fans asking if it’s on the record. I think it’s going to be a favorite, even if it’s not a single.
So when do you get a break?
December [laughs]. We’re out with Brad and I think we’ll be out with him for quite a while. Then I fly around in between all of that to promote the record. There’s just not a lot of time. And I only take off the week of Thanksgiving and usually a week and a half during Christmas. And I like it that way. I’m ADD and I get bored if I’m not writing or singing. I don’t know if I’ll be saying that in December – I’ll probably be ready for a break at that point – but I’m just gearing up for it. I love putting out a new record – especially one that I really believe in. That’s the plus side.
Academy of Country Music Awards, MGM Grand Garden Arena, Las Vegas, Nev.
April 1, 2012
We’re in Fresno which means we don’t get to see a lot of shows unless we travel –
No, you don’t! I think the last three tours with Miranda (Lambert) were the only times we went to Fresno.
But I did get to see you on Fremont Street in Las Vegas. You played “Fishing In The Dark” by Nitty Gritty Dirt Band. I appreciated the “old school.”
Thanks. To me, especially if I’m doing a 75-minute to 90-minute show and I’m on my own, I sometimes wonder if people get my references. I can’t count how many time’s I’ve played “I’m Over You” by Keith Whitley. That’s not even a current song nor even a huge hit when it was out. Sometimes I wonder if people get it. But I think, well, if they don’t, I love the song so hopefully they’ll love it too. Obviously “Fishing In The Dark” is a lot more well known than that, but I think it’s fun to try some stuff like that. Throw it out there and see if people love it.
I get to talk to your agent, Rob Beckham, every once in a while and lemme tell ya – he really loves you a lot.
[laughs] Man I love Rob. It’s funny how I ended up over there. Rob’s now at the head of WME Nashville (with Greg Oswald), but at the time I came over there it was basically him and Rick Shipp. I think Rick was on the way out. I was over at CAA and didn’t have anything booked, and Rob said, “We’d really love to have you over here.” I think WME actually booked two tours for me before I left CAA. They said, “We really love you. We’re going to book you regardless on these tours (with their acts). We want you here.”
I really have a lot of respect for Rob. He’s just a great guy as well as a great agent. I’ve just been lucky to get with him. If you look at my touring career, I don’t know if I’d be doing the same thing or where I am if I hadn’t gotten with him. He definitely knows something – Brad Paisley, Rascal Flatts, The Band Perry. He doesn’t swing and miss a lot.
If you go by the calendar, it’s late in the year. But for you, it’s just getting started.
Yeah, this is really where it kicks in. In years past, it usually kicks in a little sooner. I think coming up is our first three-week run that we’ve done all year. We’ve been able to keep it to two weeks out and then another back, another week out, etc. We’ve had a lot of Monday-Tuesday-Wednesdays at home, which is usually the case in the beginning of the year.
But, yeah, everything’s definitely coming up. I think our next run is to the West Coast, then up into Canada, then back to the West Coast, then to the middle of the country before we come home.
And on top of the album launch stuff, it’s just now getting busy.
Save Mart Center, Fresno, Calif.
April 26, 2012
Upcoming dates for Chris Young:
Aug. 14 – Kalispell, Mont., Northwest Montana Fair & Rodeo
Aug. 15 – Penticton, British Columbia, South Okanagan Events Centre (Appearing with Brad Paisley)
Aug. 16 – Mission, British Columbia, Mission Raceway (Rockin' River Music Fest)
Aug. 17 – Brownsville, Ore., Willamette Country Music Festival Grounds (Willamette Country Music Festival)
Aug. 22 – Mountain View, Calif., Shoreline Amphitheatre (Appearing with Brad Paisley)
Aug. 23 – Wheatland, Calif., Sleep Train Amphitheatre (Appearing with Brad Paisley)
Aug. 24 – Devore, Calif., San Manuel Amphitheater (Appearing with Brad Paisley)
Aug. 30 – Stateline, Nev., Lake Tahoe Outdoor Arena At Harveys (Appearing with Brad Paisley)
Aug. 31 – Las Vegas, Nev., Mandalay Bay Events Center (Appearing with Brad Paisley)
Sept. 5 – Blackfoot, Idaho, Eastern Idaho Fairgrounds (Eastern Idaho State Fair)
Sept. 7 – Pendleton, Ore., Happy Canyon Arena (Pendleton Round-Up)
Sept. 21 – Sayreville, N.J., Starland Ballroom
Sept. 22 – Webster, Mass., Indian Ranch
Sept. 27 – Omaha, Neb., CenturyLink Center Omaha
Oct. 5 – Biloxi, Miss., Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Biloxi
Oct. 17 – Hamilton, Ontario, Copps Coliseum (Appearing with Brad Paisley)
Oct. 18 – Ottawa, Ontario, Canadian Tire Centre (Appearing with Brad Paisley)
Oct. 19 – London, Ontario, Budweiser Gardens (Appearing with Brad Paisley)
Oct. 23 – Winnipeg, Manitoba, MTS Centre (Appearing with Brad Paisley)
Oct. 24 – Regina, Saskatchewan, Brandt Centre (Appearing with Brad Paisley)
Oct. 25 – Calgary, Alberta, Scotiabank Saddledome (Appearing with Brad Paisley)
Oct. 26 – Edmonton, Alberta, Rexall Place (Appearing with Brad Paisley)
Please visit ChrisYoungCountry.com for more information.