Music News & Reviews

This country singer says performing in Lexington is ‘always fun.’ He’s here Friday.

Chris Young is the Friday night headliner at this year’s Red, White and Boom.
Chris Young is the Friday night headliner at this year’s Red, White and Boom.

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Red, White & Boom 2018

Red, White & Boom, presented by WBUL-FM 98.1 The Bull, brings three days of country music to Rupp Arena, Aug. 31 to Sept. 2. Headliners are Chris Young, Brad Paisley and Toby Keith, with stars such as Kane Brown, Luke Combs and others rounding out the 15-artist bill. Follow all of our coverage, here.

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Chris Young likes being on a roll. As headliner for Friday’s portion of the three-day Red, White and Boom concert blowout at Rupp Arena, he likes a career that keeps him on the run. Perhaps that’s one of the reasons his most recent album is titled “Losing Sleep.”

Then again, with three topping selling albums released in just under two years, who has time for sleep?

“One of the reasons that I set such a fast pace for myself over the last couple of records is that I have been writing so much,” Young said. “I love the process and everything that goes along with creating music. That passion is still there and is as strong as it’s ever been with me.”

Here’s the recent recording rundown for the Murfressboro, Tenn.-born singer/songsmith.

Having earned a record contract following a win on the 2006 season of the country music talent show “Nashville Star” and following it with a hit-making run that included five consecutive No. 1 country singles, Young released his fifth album in November 2015.

Titled “I’m Comin’ Over,” it upped his popularity further. The title song became a double platinum selling radio staple, setting the stage for the follow-up duet hits “Think of You” (cut with Cassadee Pope) and “Sober Saturday Night” (with Vince Gill). Fast forward to autumn of last year and Young is giving us “Losing Sleep,” which debuted at No.1 on the Billboard Top Country Albums chart. The title tune became his eighth No. 1 smash while his current single, “Hangin’ On,” is poised to add to the tally.

“I think since ‘Losing Sleep’ came out so soon after ‘I’m Comin’ Over,’ it established the direction I was going in. We went into the studio with Corey Crowder (who co-produced both albums with Young) and took things a little bit differently. I don’t think you ever make one record exactly the same as you did the previous one. Getting to produce with him on ‘I’m Comin’ Over’ was a whole lot of fun, so I decided to co-produce all of my projects.

“‘Losing Sleep’ came together so… well, I hate to use the world organically because you hear that all the time. But it’s the truth. I was just working, writing and touring and it just happened.”

What about the third album? That fell into place as “I’m Coming Over” was still selling briskly. But the interim project was a holiday record, “It Must Be Christmas,” which surfaced in October 2016. That made three album releases for Young over three consecutive autumns.

“The really interesting thing is there was that Christmas record in the middle of those other albums. I think that all goes down to my love of creating music, my love of the studio and just a drive to create more. I think as we get into the way the music business runs now, a lot of people just want more music and want it as fast as you can give it to them, which is really, really cool when you write a whole lot.”

Many influences shared in helping shape Young’s prolific and largely traditional sounding recording career. But one family member stands as a major inspiration — Young’s grandfather. He was a touring musician with performance credits on such storied country programs as “Louisiana Hayride” and a scholarly understanding of the music’s history.

“He played pretty much everywhere for quite a long time when he was younger,” Young recalled. “One of the things that really influenced me as far as my knowledge of where country music came from was his knowledge. He still, to this day, has a music room with amps, guitars and a piano. He would put on Marty Robbins 45s and 78s, things like that. That was a really, really cool thing for me. It was special anytime I would go over to his house.”

Another house that has become something of a performance home for Young is Rupp Arena. Tonight’s Red, White and Boom show will continue a history at the venue that includes shows with Alan Jackson in 2010, Rascal Flatts and Luke Bryan in 2011 and Miranda Lambert in 2012. He is also a Boom alumnus, having played the festival at Whitaker Bank Ball Park in 2015.

“Anytime Lexington comes up on the route sheet, I’m always excited. I’ve always sensed this great love of country music there and have been welcomed really, really well over the years, whether I was doing a headlining show or was part of someone else’s tour. Being able to come back is always fun.”

If you go

Red, White and Boom 2018

Where: Rupp Arena

When: 5 p.m. Aug. 31-Sept. 2

Tickets: $37.50-$299

Call: 800-745-3000, 859-233-3535