No album, no big. Chris Young returns to Amsoil Arena on his 'Raised on Country' tour, despite album delays

It’s been an incredible, incredible time. I’m glad about the experiences I’ve had to this point."

Chris Young has described his buzzed-about upcoming album as his favorite. Photo by Jeff Johnson

Chris Young has a new album coming out … still. There’s been chatter since early in the year, but never a specific release date — or even a specific release season. In July, the country artist called “Raised on Country,” his seventh studio album, his favorite despite it not yet being available as a cohesive body of work.

“I really do think this is the best record I’ve ever made,” he told Sounds Like Nashville.

In mid-September he told the News Tribune that he was in the process of recording a couple more things, but was enjoying the process of first charting singles and teasing out bits and pieces of the new work. He released the title track in January, a tribute to a late friend in June and a duet with Lauren Alain in July.

“Give people more music beforehand,” he said in a phone interview from Florida before a week-long, mid-tour break. “That’s something I haven’t been able to do in the past. It’s been fun to see how people react.”

Photo gallery: Chris Young at Amsoil Arena Photos by Tyler Schank /


While it remains unstreamable, pieces will definitely be revealed when Young’s Raised on Country Tour plays at 7:30 p.m. Oct. 19 at Amsoil Arena. Also on the bill: Eli Young Band and Matt Stell. Tickets start at $34.75 and are available at the DECC box office and other Ticketmaster outlets.

Chris Young last played Duluth in 2016. Photo by Matthew Berinato

Chris Young then, Chris Young now

Chris Young, with his Randy Travis-ian classic-country twang, has had a steady career since winning USA network’s reality show “Nashville Star” in the mid ’00s. Country was a style of music he fell in love with while sitting in the backseat of his family car. It’s what his parents listened to, he said.

Four singles into his career, he hit No. 1 with “Gettin’ You Home (The Black Dress Song),” which kicked off a long line of hits. It came at a make-or-break moment for the self-described “numbers person” who said they don’t throw parties when your single hits No. 37. (That would be "Voices," which later hit No. 1 on a re-release, but didn't crack 36 at first.)

“I understood that if (‘Gettin’ You Home’) didn’t work, that would be the end of my career with Sony,” he said. “That song worked.”

In 2013, after a bacterial infection in his leg led to septic shock and before the release of his album “A.M.,” USA Today described Young as “one of country’s most reliable hitmakers below superstar level.” And in 2015, he released his fifth studio album — a boost for the Tennessee-bred musician. He went 3-for-3 with “I’m Comin’ Over,” the title track, “Think of You” with Cassadee Pope and “Sober Saturday Night” with Vince Gill all landing at the top of the country charts.

Among Young’s first big whoas, he said, came when he started headlining venues where he had opened for other artists, like George Strait — one of a handful of the musicians he name-checks in the song “Raised on Country.” (Others include Joe Diffie, Merle, Willie.)


Rather than a sudden boom, Young described it as a career “14 years in the making.”

“You never really get to choose,” he said of whether he would have preferred quick success. “I’m honestly happy I’ve gotten to the point where we’re playing amphitheaters and breaking records for the number of people we’re having at a show. It’s been an incredible, incredible time. I’m glad about the experiences I’ve had to this point.

“If you’d asked me about eight years ago if I wished it would speed up along the way, I’d say yeah.”

Chris Young returns to Amsoil Arena for a concert. Photo by John Shearer

What to expect from a Chris Young concert

Chris Young played Amsoil Arena in 2016 — a makeup show because he’d had strep throat on the originally scheduled date. According to a News Tribune review, he played a 14-song, 90-minute set in front of 4,000 young people — the final stop on his “I’m Comin’ Over” world tour.

Young has been on his "Raised On Country" tour for more than five months, playing at least five shows a month and sometimes as many as eight or nine. He said the set list has gradually changed along the way in subtle ways.

When he started this trek, “Drowning” wasn’t yet a single and wasn’t part of the show. During a recent interview, he had the previous night changed four things in his set.


“I played a song called ‘The Dashboard,’” he said, “and I did a Keith Whitley cover randomly in the middle of the show.”

According to, Young has recently been opening the 19-ish song set with “Hangin’ On,” hitting the tour’s title song about mid-set, slowing down for “Drowning” as the show wanes, then picking it back up with the Garth Brooks’ cover “Papa Loved Mama.” He’s also thrown in a Whitley’s cover: “Don’t Close Your Eyes,” or “When You Say Nothing At All.” He reportedly covered Huey Lewis and the News earlier this year. Lately he’s been closing with “Aw Naw.”

Playing in front of audiences has shown Young how much music can influence people, he said.
“This is going to sound cheeseball,” he said, “but you can see it from the stage. Whether it’s ‘Drowning,’ which is very serious or a song which is about tequila. You can see how much people love music.”

If you go

What: Chris Young's Raised on Country Tour

Where: Amsoil Arena

When: Saturday, Oct. 19, 7:30 p.m.

Tickets: $35-$65 at

Christa Lawler is a former reporter for the Duluth News Tribune.
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