Before the album arrives, Young is heading back to the UK in May for a series of headline dates with Lindsay Ell is tow. The dates are part of his extensive Losing Sleep World Tour and they will be his final dates before he launches the Raised on Country Tour in the US straight after.
I caught up with Chris to talk about his return to the UK, find out about his upcoming new album, and to discuss a possible follow-up to his 2016 festive collection It Must Be Christmas.
You’re bringing your Losing Sleep World Tour to the UK in May. How are you feeling about it?
I’m ecstatic. Seeing the dates on my calendar and knowing where I get to go and going to some places that I haven’t actually yet been to play on my own. Also seeing a lot of the stuff on social media and everybody being excited that I’m coming back. That’s a really good feeling.
You’ve been on the road for a long time with this tour. What can we expect?
The biggest thing that people will see, if they’ve seen me before, is there’s a lot of music I’ve released since I’ve was last over. There’s going to be a whole lot more music that I get to add to my show. Obviously when you change a setlist, a whole lot of other thing’s change such as the transition stuff that I’ve started doing on stage, the back and forth banter with the crowd and stuff that I do with my band. It’s a much different show from a couple years ago.
Your new single Raised on Country is rocketing up the charts and looking like it might be your twelfth number one hit. What has the reaction to that song been?
Man! The reaction that I’ve seen just since I put it out here in the States has been crazy. The very first time I got a chance to play it for a crowd was at an acoustic setting so it was just me with a couple of my guitar players. That was crazy because people wanted to sing it back the very first time they heard it. There are a lot of parts that are very call and response with the crowd. There’s moments where people get a chance to sing along with it. It was cool to actually see people doing it, knowing how long I’ve been working on that song. I actually wrote it on the road last year in February while we’re out on the tour dates. I’ve had that one ready to go for quite a long time. It’s exciting to see that kind of response.
Would you say that the song is quite indicative of what we can expect from your new album later this year?
Absolutely. This album is definitely going to skew that direction as far as tone and as far as types of songs. To be honest, I do cut a lot of love songs (laughs) and I’m not shy about doing that. This is something that’s topically a little bit different for people but I didn’t really have that straightforward this is who I am anthem so to speak, that’s really, really country. There’s going to be a lot of stuff topically that maybe I haven’t touched on before. I wrote a song that’s going to be on the record called Drowning about losing somebody that’s close to you. There’s going to be a lot for people to dig into on the album as a whole.
Can we expect any collaborations on this record?
Yes there will be some collaborations on this on this project. There weren’t any on Losing Sleep and people were like, ‘why? Is it because you did two collaborations on the I’m Comin’ Over record and you didn’t want to go back?’ It was just the songs that I cut, there wasn’t anyone that made sense. When I sang Think Of You with Cassadee (Pope), I wouldn’t want anybody else on the song but here. I’m so glad that she wanted to do that. Same goes with Vince Gill on Sober Saturday Night. I knew I wanted Vince on that song. I was just glad he didn’t hang up the song I called it up his house (laughs).
Straight after the UK dates, you launch your next headline tour Raised on Country in the US. You tour relentless. How do you keep up your stamina and prepare for that?
I love to travel and I’m pretty good about not needing a regular schedule as far as when I actually get sleep (laughs). I think probably the combination of those two things has enabled me to keep going. In May it will be 13 years that I’ve been on RCA and I haven’t really slowed down much any of those years but I love my job.
I feel like you should follow up Losing Sleep by titling the next record Who Needs Sleep…
(laughs) Yeah, we don’t need it!
You were one of the first Country artists to really make touring in the UK a priority and you’ll have seen over the years the growth the genre has had here. How do you feel about being a part of that?
Being in the large group of people that have made it a point to go play somewhere outside the US (laughs), I think probably has a little to do with it. I just think it’s one of those things that almost you don’t really know why there’s such a drive towards the music right now. I love it. It’s one of the things that I’ve been super vocal about to anybody. The very first time I came over and played we were doing something with the CMA where it was four people acoustic for a songwriter’s round. A couple of shows we played were really more like pubs than they were anything else. I just was like, ‘you’ve got to go over. You have to see the enthusiasm that people have for Country music’. It’s only continued to grow since then and, like you said, it just seems like it’s really at a point where it’s reaching everybody once you’re over there playing right now, which is awesome. It’s something that I love. Obviously singing Country music all my life, it’s really fun to be able to tell people, ‘I played a week while I was over in the U.K.’ and they’re like, ‘really? There are that many people that are Country fans out there?’ and I’m like, ‘yeah, there are’ and it’s awesome to say that.
Last time we spoke you’d just released It Must Be Christmas, which is one of the best Christmas records ever. Are we going to get a sequel at some point?
Thank you, first of all! I think I’m going to add to it. That was something that we’ve discussed. There’s obviously so much music out there when you get around Christmas time. I think that that will be, if not a completely different record, at least expanded upon at some point.
Chris Young’s new single Raised on Country is available to download and stream now. He will be in the UK in May and you get tickets for his shows at https://ticketmaster-uk.tm7559.net/QW29o.