The Pioneer recently spoke with country star Chris Young who is continuing his 2012 Liquid Neon Tour. His latest single, “I Can Take It From There,” has climbed to #18 on the country charts. He has five consecutive #1 singles at country radio with a platinum certification and four recent hits certified GOLD by the RIAA. Over the summer, Young joined Miranda Lambert as her special guest on her “On Fire” tour. More recently, he joined Brantley Gilbert to tape a cameo appearance on ABC’s Nashville, a musical drama starring Connie Britton and Hayden Panettiere, in the episode “You Win Again” which aired on January 23.
Young will be performing at the NYCB Theatre at Westbury on Sunday, February 17 at 8 pm. Tickets are $29.50 and can be purchased on LiveNation.com. You can follow Chris on Twitter @ChrisYoungMusic.
The Pioneer (TP): You have been touring with big names like Miranda Lambert, Alan Jackson, Rascal Flatts, Blake Shelton, and Jason Aldean. What is something you have learned from these seasoned veterans of Country Music that you can use for your own tour?
Chris Young (CY): One of the things I’ve learned from touring with some of the biggest names in country music is how much diversity there can be in your set. If you look at all those artists from Alan Jackson to Miranda Lambert to Jason Aldean, it’s a pretty wide range as to how they set everything up and what songs they put in their shows, including covers. It really opens up the possibilities as to what I can do when I’m headlining my own shows.
TP: By the looks of your schedule, you practically live on the road. What is the one thing that makes you feel at home no matter where you travel?
CY: We just got a Keurig coffee maker for the bus. It’s great to be able to wake up and have freshly brewed hot tea or coffee to start the day without leaving the bus. It’s great! I also had a road case built for my Golden Tee arcade golf game so me and all the guys in the band can have tournaments on the road.
TP: With three albums out, you have a number of hits. What is your favorite song to perform to a live crowd?
CY: Right now my favorite song to perform live is ‘Tomorrow’ from my new album NEON. I love how as soon as we start playing the opening guitar licks of the song the crowd starts losing their mind and cheering. Our fans are also loving the new single ‘’I Can Take It From There” and that’s getting a big response too.
TP: The last year has brought Gold certifications, multiple award nominations and five #1 singles. What goals do you have for 2013?
CY: I’d love to have another Gold record with the new album NEON, I’m really proud of the music that’s on the record. I also want to tour as much as we possibly can so that we can get out and see everybody. There are a lot of cities that we didn’t make it to last year where we’re getting requests from the fans and so we want to get out there as much as possible to play and tour.
TP: What keeps you grounded?
CY: Without a doubt my family keeps me grounded. They’re the kind of people who will keep you in line and keep your head on straight.
TP: When did you first know that you wanted to pursue music as a profession?
CY: The first time I got up on stage with a band I knew I loved music. I never questioned it all the way through high school or college and knew without a doubt it was what I wanted to do.
TP: Who were your music inspirations growing up?
CY: Keith Whitley has always been one of my musical heroes. I recently had the chance to play one of his old guitars on the Opry stage. That was an awesome experience.
TP: Who are your current inspirations in today’s music?
CY: I love Blake and Miranda. The music they make is different but equally cool. I’ve had the chance to work with them and they’re both just great people.
TP: A lot of country artists have been mixing some entertaining covers into their live set lists. Are there some surprises your fans will get from your live show that they would not expect just from listening to your albums?
CY: We like to cover everything from ZZ Top to Stevie Wonder in my live shows. I think sometimes people are surprised by some of the songs we mix in to our sets but I’ve been influenced by a wide variety of genres and so I like to share some of my favorites with the fans.