Opry.com’s Guide To What’s New In Country.
Chris Young A.M.
Chris Young has accomplished more by 28 than some artists do in a lifetime. Already a Grammy-nominated recording artist, he’s also a dynamic live performer consistently in demand, an international ambassador for his genre, and a talented songwriter. Now, with the release of his fourth album, A.M., the man known for his classic baritone and melt-your-heart ballads has suddenly revealed himself to be king of the good time, too, with lead single “Aw Naw” electrifying crowds and storming up the charts.
Chris co-wrote six of the eleven tracks on A.M., including “Aw Naw,” which sets the tone immediately. An irreverent story about what he calls “an accidental party – ‘Hey, I just came to have one, and ended up staying all night,’” it’s got an addictive four-on-the-floor vibe that’s tailor made for live sing-alongs, and a tongue-in-cheek title that’s inescapable. “It’s just a slang way of saying, ‘Oh, hell no,’” Young explains. “The guy that brought it up was [co-writer] Ashley Gorley. He goes, ‘Aw naw!’ And it was like, ‘How do you spell that?’”
Combined with the album’s equally raucous title track, one might expect A.M. to be something of a concept album about things getting crazy after midnight. Instead, “It’s things that you wouldn’t necessarily expect,” says Young, citing tracks like power ballad “Lighters In the Air” and a tender, traditional love song called “Goodbye” as evidence that there’s something deeper going on in the hours before the dawn. “’Lighters in the Air’ is about meeting someone and falling in love at a concert, losing yourself in that night with the band playing in the background,” he says. “And ‘Goodbye’ – when you look at the title, you might assume it’s a breakup song. But it’s about a relationship worth fighting for, showing up at somebody’s house in the middle of the night and trying to work it out.”
More than anything, A.M. is defiantly, definitely country. “Everybody’s got a definition of what country music is,” Young says. “Never before has it been so broad as to what can be on a country radio station, and what country music can be. It really just has to be what you feel as an artist.” With its double guitars and occasional moments of arena-rock glory, A.M. sounds unlike any album Young has ever made – but that doesn’t change what he calls the “core principle” of his music: “I’m never going to lose the acoustic guitar and the steel and the story in the song,” he says. “When I open my mouth, I sound country. No one’s going to confuse my records with being outside of the genre. Will I push some boundaries for some people? Hopefully. But I’m a country singer.”
Recently named one of the summer’s top tour openers by Entertainment Weekly, Young is on the road through the fall with Opry member Brad Paisley – the latest in a string of high-profile supporting slots including tours with Jason Aldean and Miranda Lambert. He’s also plotting his next headlining run, with an eye on playing a stadium someday. And with the release of A.M. he says, “I’m happy. I think this is probably the happiest I’ve been in my life. I love the record that I made, I’m happy that it’s different, that I’m stretching a little bit – and that people seem to be liking it. And I’m on a great tour. It’s just a really, really good time right now. Maybe that’s why I felt so compelled to put party songs on this record. ‘Cause that’s kind of how I feel.”
We sat down with Chris Young to ask him YOUR questions, check out the video and some of our favorite Opry performances of Chris below!
Track list: (Click here to purchase)
1. “Aw Naw”
2. “Hold You To It”
3. “Lonely Eyes”
6. “Nothin’ But The Cooler Left”
7. “Who I Am With You”
8. “Text Me Texas”
9. “We’re Gonna Find It Tonight”
11. “Lighters In The Air”