The first concert that country singer Chris Young remembers was at Starwood Amphitheater in Nashville, Tennessee. His mother won tickets on the radio and took Young and his sister to see Vince Gill perform.
“I was like, 'I want to do what that guy does. That looks awesome!'” Young says. “And of course, I play guitar nothing like Vince Gill and normally sing in a different key.”
With a laugh, he adds, “It's fun now because all I have to do is ask him to play on something.”
Need proof? Gill sang on Young's “Sober Saturday Night” single from his 2015 album “I'm Comin' Over” and in 2017 surprised Young onstage with an invitation to join the Grand Ole Opry.
Young is currently on his “Raised on Country” tour, which will be at Memorial Coliseum on Nov. 21.
In a phone call from La Crosse, Wisconsin, one of last month's tour stops, Young says he counts himself lucky to be more than a decade into a Nashville record deal. Getting to that point is no small feat.
Young says he loves his job, even though there is a lot of work that goes into it. He launches into his itinerary for the week that includes almost daily travel.
“But I also did construction with my dad, and I sucked at it,” he says. “So I'm really glad this is something people think I'm good at!”
Young has sold 12 million singles and had his music streamed 2 billion times, so it's safe to say people think he's doing OK.
“There's nothing better than you getting up onstage and people singing your songs back to you,” Young says. “I don't care if it's 20 people or it's 20,000 people – it's just an incredible feeling.”
It's even more special when a song touches people. He says it is incredible to see the love being shown to new single “Drowning.” The song was co-written with Corey Crowder and Josh Hoge in memory of a friend, and Young made his directorial debut with the music video.
Everything about life is on the table when Young creates music, though he admits he might not have the correct angle to make every song a keeper. But making a connection with the audience is the goal.
“I think you're allowed to write about drinking tequila and you're also able to write about losing someone that was close to you and important to you and everything in between,” Young says.
“Drowning” and “Raised on Country” are at the opposite ends of the spectrum for his eighth studio album, he says. The record also includes “Town Ain't Big Enough” with Lauren Alaina. No release date has been set.
In the meantime, Young is focused on making the current tour the best it can be.
It is the biggest show he's done, in terms of production. But aside from that, he sees it as his job to make sure everyone leaves having had fun.
“Someone told me a long time ago, 'Somebody out there – husband and wife – they get to go out one night a month. They've got to save up, get a babysitter for the kids, pay for the gas in the car to drive here, and they're sitting out there. Don't mess that up for them,'” he says.