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Chris Young's riding country high

Digital First Media, @GraffonMusic

Posted: Thursday, February 4, 2016

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It's a good time to be Chris Young.

The country singer is on clear roll these days. His fifth studio album, I'm Comin' Over," was his first No. 1 on the Billboard Top Country Albums chart when it was released in November. Its title track also topped the Country Airplay charts, while "Think Of You," a duet with Cassadee Pope, is making its ascent.

Meanwhile Young picked up four Academy of Country Music Awards nominations, including Album of the Year, Single Recording of the Year and Vocal Event of the Year. So when Young acknowledges that, "I'm very happy," it seems something of an understatement.

"Being able to lead off a record like that is always huge," Young, 30, says by phone from his home in Nashville. "It was like, 'Finally!' This is my fifth (album); every other time it seemed like somebody else came out the same week I put out an album. My first album (in 2006) out of the box had a really good first week, but George Strait dropped a record that week, too. 'OK...'

"So having a really good first week and having it be No. 1 as well and having (the title track) go No. 1 all in the same week is incredibly special. It's almost impossible to time that. It's something that comes together once in a very, very short while, so I just enjoyed it."

The accomplishments are even sweeter because "I'm Comin' Over" is the first time Young has produced himself, in collaboration with writing partner Corey Crowder. It's certainly of a piece with its four predecessors, but Young says that having the reins himself allowed him to tweak his sound even in subtle ways he feels made a difference.

"I thought it was time for a new direction for me," he explains. "Topically I may have covered some of the stuff before, but sonically, the way we did it, I think I'm artistically stretching a little bit. I'm just glad the label let me do my own thing and try some things where they could have been, 'No, we don't know if we trust you or not.'"

"Think of You" was a case in point; as Young notes, he's never done a duet with a female artist before. But as he, Crowder and Josh Hoge wrote the song it became clear to them it would be a good vehicle for two voices.

"Corey's married to his high school sweetheart; they've known each other since they were both 16," Young says. "He came in with this song and said, "Man I was thinking about what would happen if anything bad ever went down and me and Laney split up, 'cause all our friendships are the same.' And I was like, 'Man, that's such a cool idea.'

"We decided to make it a duet where you get the back and forth of both people and looking at it from a give-and-take, call-and-response type of thing. It was a really great way to do the song, I think."

Chris Young and Cassadee Pope

Friday, Feb. 5. Doors open at 6:30 p.m.

Royal Oak Music Theatre, 318 W. Fourth St.

Tickets are sold out.

Call 248-399-2980 or visit royaloakmusictheatre.com.

Web Site: www.royaloakmusictheatre.com

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