‘Bigger Than Anything’

‘Bigger Than Anything’

Artist keeps heart in over-the-top arena tour



“I think if you haven’t evolved as a performer in 13 years, something would be horribly wrong. I’ve been lucky I’ve been on a lot of tours that have been some of the most impressive things that exist in the country world. And you pick up a lot of things, whether it’s my actual stage presence or something with the way I’m staging my show and what I’m doing with video walls, or what I’m doing with down moments in the show, how I make those special and how I make them intimate. You learn a lot from watching people that have been doing it for years and years and years, and then you take that information and make it your own.”

— Country star Chris Young on his evolution as an artist


Between Chris Young’s headlining “Raised on Country” outdoor amphitheater tour, which is selling out all over the world, and the tour’s sing-along-ready namesake single breaking new records for the multi-platinum country star, Young’s show is perfectly positioned as the party of the summer. And that’s exactly what he was aiming for.

“If I describe exactly what you’re going to see, I’m still not sure it’s going to actually encompass how big it is,” Young says of his first all-amphitheater tour. “It was the first time that I walked in somewhere for rehearsals and I was like, ‘This is impressive.’ It took me back a step.

“It’s more lights, more video walls, more stuff that’s moving on stage. It’s just bigger than anything I’ve ever attempted. And it kind of has to be. You always get that vibe from fairs and festivals. Then to be able to transition that to your tour, where you’re doing that in amphitheaters all summer, that’s just a different vibe.”

And the vibe has certainly been helped along by Young’s name-dropping “Raised on Country,” the first single from his forthcoming eighth studio album. The anecdotal tune is just the right parts relatable nostalgia, Southern roots pride and summer jam, and country fans let Young know immediately he had a hit on his hands.

“That came directly from being out on the road,” Young remembers of writing the song. “I had a couple of my buddies out there watching the arena show, and we were like, ‘Man, let’s try something autobiographical that’s also just kind of a big ole’ country anthem sing-along, and something people are going to have a lot of fun with.’ And from the very get-go, people were singing along to this song.”

Young’s latest release — officially dropped on the day of a phone interview with him — has also generated a significant response from fans, but for completely different reasons. “Drowning” will likely be the impending album’s second single, Young explains, but he wanted to go ahead and make it available to fans before an “official” single release because the song is so important to him.

“It’s basically for anybody that’s lost anybody,” the singer says candidly. “I had a buddy of mine, Adam, who passed away many years ago, and I had never really written a song about that. We started writing this song and just thought it was something really special. That being said, I [also felt] this is deeply personal; it’s an emotional song. It’s kind of sad. It’s a song for reminiscing about someone that you’ve lost.

“It’ll be one of those things that’s really important to me and it lives on the album, and people will get to it when they get to it,” he goes on. “I’ve played it a couple of times out, and it was, like, immediate reaction from everybody: ‘Hey, we want this song.’ So that was a really cool feeling for me. And this morning has been awesome seeing the amount of reaction; just people telling their stories of what this song reminds them of, or who this song reminds them of. And that’s really at the core of songwriting. What you’re trying to do is make people go, ‘I’ve been there,’ or ‘I’ve felt that way.’”



‘Raised on Country Tour’

Chris Young

With Chris Janson and Jimmie Allen

WHEN — 7:30 p.m. July 19

WHERE — Walmart AMP in Rogers

COST — $35-$235; “LAWN 4-PACK” $26.50/each

INFO — waltonartscenter.org/AMP, chrisyoungcountry.com

Categories: Music