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Chris Young: 'I’m On My Ninth Album, I Don’t Feel Any Nervousness'

5 March 2024 | 11:08 am | Samuel J. Fell

Chris Young has taken his time to create his latest record, 'Young Love & Saturday Nights', but as he tells Samuel J. Fell, it’s been well worth the wait.

Chris Young

Chris Young (Source: Supplied)

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Chris Young is in that sweet spot. That time – perhaps a few weeks, more likely a few months – between the completion of an album, and its inevitable release upon the public, a time to sit back and contemplate what’s been done, and what’s hopefully to come. Of course, as any artist would know, this timeframe can easily slide sideways, waves of self-doubt perhaps, those thoughts: what if it’s not as good as I think it is? What if people don’t like it? Could I have done more?

Not Chris Young, though. The multi-platinum-selling country artist and member of the Grand Ole Opry has, quite obviously, been there and done it, and the album in question, Young Love & Saturday Nights, due for release later this month, is his ninth – this ain’t his first rodeo. “Well, the amount of time I’ve spent doing this for a living, plus… I’ve been on my record label for eighteen years, and I’m on my ninth album; I don’t feel any nervousness,” Young muses.

“I mean, it’s done, I’ve created something I think is amazing. I’ve done all the work, it exists, it is what it is, I love it, and I just hope everyone else loves it; there’s no reason to worry over that because it’s done.”

Young Love & Saturday Nights, which comes almost two decades after Young’s eponymous debut, sees him in a place of quiet confidence, confidence at what he’s able to achieve and how he’s able to achieve it. He says, acknowledging the trope that many artists parrot, that it truly is one of the best albums he’s ever made, and he says this without a trace of complacency or conceit. To him, it’s a fact that this record is exactly as he wanted it to be.

What it also is, is perhaps one of his most ambitious releases, coming in as it does at a lengthy 18 tracks, something that wasn’t planned, but which happened organically over the time it took to pull Young Love & Saturday Nights together, which incidentally was one of his longest gaps between records. “Well, I didn’t expect to have 18 tracks on a record, possibly ever,” he says, with a trace of a smile. 

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“It just happened to turn out this way… I’m super, super proud of this record, and I don’t think it would be 18 tracks had I not had the time that I had over the past several years… having that time to write and find songs and produce and track all of this stuff; I think was highly important.”

The result is, as you’d expect, a sprawling album that covers all bases, from introspective to raucous to anthemic. It is, as I remark to Young, almost a one-stop-shop, in that if this was your first taste of Young’s version of ‘big country’, then you’d have a fairly solid idea of what the man is about. “I think that’s a huge compliment,” he says, “I mean, that’s always what you’re going for, right? A snapshot of who you are at that moment when you make a record.”

To that end, listening through an album that tells tales of, unsurprisingly, young love and Saturday nights – that wishing and wanting, the good times and the bad, mates and girls and trucks and all the rest of it – I ask Young how biographical this album is for him, how much of it is him, that he’s now looking back on.

“I mean, I think all of it, from the break-up songs to the love songs, even [the title track],” he explains. “I remember sitting in my truck back when I was playing shows in Texas, and I was just, like, I have almost no money; I’ve got a guitar and a ’96 Ford F150, and [I’d drive] from Murfreesboro all the way to Dallas, Texas, and lived in Arlington – so [now], I’m like, I’ve done this, this is me, I can relate to this.”

“And that’s the only thing you ever want anyone to feel when they hear a song, whether [they’re from] Dallas, Texas or Melbourne or London in the UK, anywhere else in the world,” he goes on. “Everybody had those experiences when they were younger.”

Relatability in song is one of country music’s watchwords, something on which to hang its collective Stetson, and Young is no different in that when he sings of these things, he wants those experiences to translate to anyone who’s within earshot. Sure, the specific events aren’t the same, but the overall experiences, the emotions, the expectations, certainly are.

Of the almost twenty songs on the album, Young had a hand in writing (or at least co-writing) all but three, bringing in the tried and tested services of gun Nashville songwriters like Jesse Frasure, Josh Thompson and Emily Weisband.

“Oh man, they were amazing,” Young enthuses of the many songwriting sessions that went into creating the album. “Emily was one of the co-writers on Looking For You; she’s absolutely amazing… and it was just incredible to write with all of them.”

Another co-writer, posthumously, is one David Bowie, whose guitar riff from Rebel Rebel is leant upon on the title track, giving him a writing credit, something Young is fairly chuffed with. He laughs, the delight evident, “Yeah, David Bowie, gotta throw that little thing in there, that I get a David Bowie writing credit on my album, which hopefully he would approve of.”

As it stands, Australia will be one of the first territories to get a taste of the new record live, as Young heads back for the first time in almost a decade to co-headline Queensland’s CMC Rocks festival this month, although, as has been documented, this almost got nixed.

“Yeah, [I got] falsely arrested by an ABC (Alcoholic Beverage Commission) agent [in late January],” he laughs. “That was super fun… I was like, I’ve gotta go to Australia! That was the very first thing I was concerned about. But all those charges got dropped by the DA.”

“The funniest thing is,” he adds, with another laugh, “is the only [band member] who was having any trouble… to come in [to Australia] was actually my bass player who’s from Brisbane.” He stops to laugh again. “I was like, how are you the one that’s gettin’ in trouble?!”

Chris Young is definitely in that sweet spot. Young Love & Saturday Nights is in the can, a work of which he’s justifiably proud, one which, while it took some time to pull together, has been, for Young, worth the wait. He’s done the work; he’s created something amazing – he just hopes you love it as much as he does.

‘Young Love & Saturday Nights’ is available 22 March via Sony Music Nashville – pre-order/pre-save the album here. Young plays Sydney, Melbourne, and CMC Rocks Queensland this month.




MONDAY 11 MARCH - Enmore Theatre | Sydney, NSW (Lic. All Ages)

WEDNESDAY 13 MARCH - Forum Melbourne | Melbourne, VIC (18+)

FRIDAY 15-SUNDAY 17 MARCH - CMC Rocks Queensland | Willowbank Raceway, Ipswich, QLD (All Ages)