YOUNG // COMIN’ OVER

Chris Young is low key enough that if one hadn’t paid attention to the
country singles chart or a couple of significant creative developments in Young’s approach to making his new album, “I’m Comin’ Over,” one might think everything was just business as usual for the country artist.
The singles chart is notable because the title song from the new album recently held down the number one spot for three weeks on “Billboard” magazine’s Country Airplay char, a triumph that would illicit a can-hardly-contain-the-excitement response from many artists.
Young is certainly pleased with his latest success, but the matter-of-fact tone he showed in a recent phone interview lacked the kind of anticipation and urgency – not to mention excitement — one might expect from an artist who looks to be on the verge of arena-headlining stardom. Instead Young sounds self-assured, but humble, and focused on the work that goes into having a successful career.
“I don’t think you can get much better than having a number one platinum single as the first single off of the new project,” the affable Young said of the song “I’m Comin’ Over.” “It’s just kind of (about) building upon that now.”
Young has been doing a good job of building momentum for his career over the past half dozen years. His 2006 self-titled debut album stiffed, but “Getting’ You Home (The Black Dress Song),” the second single from his sophomore album, 2009’s “The Man I Want To Be,” became
a chart-topping breakthrough hit. Then the title song from that album and a third single, “Voices,” extended the streak of number one singles to three.
The Murfreesboro, Tennessee native has been on a roll since. His next two albums, “Neon” (2010) and “A.M.” (2013) added three more number ones to Young’s resume and set the stage for the emphatic run of the “I’m Comin’ Over” single, and the strong debut of the new album (which sold an impressive 57,000 copies in its first week).
It’s not just the chart successes that are a big deal. The “I’m Comin’ Over” album involved some major changes in how Young has made his albums in the past — steps that also suggest he’s confident of his abilities at this point in his career.
After working with noted producer James Stroud on his recent albums, Young took the reins on the “I’m Comin’ Over” project by co-producing the album with songwriter Corey Crowder.
Artists producing their own albums, while somewhat common in the rock
and alternative genres, is rare in country. But Young had no great revelations or statements about his decision to step into producing on “I’m Comin’ Over.”
“You know what, actually it just kind of felt like it was time,” he said. “I don’t think it was anything in particular. It wasn’t like
some big moment where I was like ‘I’m going to do this.’ It was like
‘I think this is the right way to go on this project specifically.’ It was a bit of a risk because it’s something I haven’t done in the past.”
Another significant shift was that Young worked with an almost entirely new group of songwriters in co-writing nine of the 11 songs on “I’m Comin’ Over.” He began to think of Crowder as his co-producer after writing sessions with Crowder and Josh Hoge.
Once again, Young sounded like switching up songwriting collaborators was about as earth shattering as changing shirts.
“I don’t think it’s anything in particular,” Young said when asked what led to working with a different set of co-writers. ”I don’t think it was like something was going on where I felt the need to do that. It was more that this is just kind of naturally how this project worked itself, and obviously a lot of the writing that I was doing with Josh and Corey plays into all of this. I think there’s only one song that I wrote for the project that didn’t have one or both of them
listed (as co-writers). There’s one song that I wrote with the Warren Brothers that they weren’t in on. But I don’t know, it’s just what we were getting together just seemed to be really, really not only the direction I wanted to go, but exactly what I wanted to say. I think it just worked out that way.”
Apparently, Young didn’t have any grand vision or big artistic statement in mind for the album, either. Asked about is goals for “I’m Comin’ Over,’ he simply said the main idea was “just to make the best
project I could.”
Of course, that’s probably a good approach for an artist who clearly has done a lot of things right over the course of his past four albums. And the “I’m Comin’ Over” album is perfectly in character with
Young’s other albums – delivering another set of tuneful, well-crafted songs with lyrics that feel emotional and heartfelt without seeming contrived.
Where the “A.M.” album leaned a bit more toward uptempo material than
Young’s previous albums, the new album swings back in favor of ballads
and mid-tempo material.
There’s a sturdy rocker in “Underdogs” and a breezy tune in “Sunshine Overtime.” Otherwise, “I’m Comin’ Over” is defined by melodic, easy-going mid-tempo tunes like “Heartbeat,” the current single “Thinking of You”(a duet with Cassadee Pope that is top 10 on “Billboard’s” Country Airplay chart) and the title song – as well as reflective ballads like “I Know a Guy” and “Sober Saturday Night.”
Now Young is resuming a winter/spring tour in support of the new album. He didn’t disclose how many new songs will be in the set, but suggested he won’t weight the show too much toward the “I’m Comin’
Over” material.
‘”You definitely have to play the stuff that people have heard on the radio,” Young said. “But when it gets down to actually new stuff, you don’t ever want to play like the whole new record. It’s been just kind of a gradual change of me figuring out, ‘Today I think I’ll add this.’ So it kind of depends on what show people show up for.”
After headlining arenas in the fall, Young is playing primarily theaters and large clubs on this tour. If the string of hits
continues, this might be one of the last opportunities to see Young in smaller venues. But when it comes to stepping up to arenas, Young himself is taking things as they come and simply staying the course.
“I think everything that is going on right now is definitely conducive to that,” Young said, once again mentioning that the success of the “I’m Comin’ Over” single is as positive as possible a development in
furthering his career. “So I think just doing a lot of the things that I’ve been doing and just continuing to build it everywhere I can, I think that’s the best possible thing I can do. Right now I’m just kind of enjoying that process.”
That might be an understatement for other artists, but it seems perfectly in character for Young.

 

 

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