Nashville Hit-Maker Chris Young Honed His Skills in an Arlington Honky-Tonk
In 2005, country music hit singer and songwriter Chris Young was fronting the house band at Cowboy's Dancehall in Arlington. But by the spring of 2006, it seemed as though the No. 1 smash hits would be just around the corner for the Tennessee-born and raised crooner after he easily took home the prize on the fourth season of the now long-gone television series Nashville Star. After wowing celebrity judges and millions of country fans with his near-perfect baritone, greater stardom didn't come as easily or as quickly as many had predicted, and especially not as soon as Young had hoped it would.
Fast forward to 2009, and that had changed. Beginning with the almost-too-country-for-country-radio megahit "Gettin' You Home," Young belted out five consecutive No. 1 singles as 2010 rolled into 2011. On top of that, he picked up a couple of ACM awards.
Some might consider 2012 a down year for Young, what with his only releasing a couple of singles that dented the charts, but those tunes came from his record Neon, which stands as arguably his best album. On the heels of his return to the Top Five of the Billboard chart, with the Gold-selling trendy party anthem "Aw Naw," and the release of A.M., Young's newest album, we spoke with Young over the phone about manscaping, the art of picking songs instead of writing them and his time in North Texas.
This past sumer, you suffered through an infection casused from an in-grown hair in your leg. Would a bit of manscaping have prevented all that grief?
It's hard to explain, because it wasn't caused by anything I did. That was really the scariest part of the whole thing. I mean, it was an ingrown hair that I got out of my leg. It wasn't a big deal and it didn't look strange, but as the little cut I made existed, some bacteria found its way in there and it decided to get bad as I was on a plane to Denver. Completely random, and I do not recommend it. Septic shock isn't a lot of fun.
So, manscaping may have caused the infection instead of preventing it?
No. No manscaping, here. At all.
The song "Text Me Texas" from your latest album features some modern techie lingo with a really nice, traditional country arrangement. Was that combination intentional?
That's a song I found when I was writing with a couple of guys, and I asked them if either of them had something I would dig for the new record. That song was the first thing they played for me and I loved it. I don't even think the song is super traditional as much as it's very bare and open. There's not a lot on the track to get in the way of the song just being what it is. I do like the juxtaposition of the under-produced song and the technology reference. I'm glad I got to this one before anyone else did because people have asked me about writing it, because they assumed it was one of mine. Anytime you get that reaction, it means it's something you should cut as an artist.
Who were the guys you were writing with when you first heard the song?
Well, there were three guys that wrote it, actually. Shane MacAnally [Mineral Wells native and Kacey Musgraves co-writer], Rhett Akins and Josh Osborne.