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Chris Young Talks George Jones, Brad Paisley & His New Album ‘A.M.’

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Chris Young ACM Honors

Chris Young (Rick Diamond/Getty Images for ACM)

Chris Young’s new album A.M. hits shelves tomorrow (Sept. 17), and the singer is anxious to get the music in the hands of his fans. So much so, he’s been giving fans a sneak peek of the new tunes on his website. That effort is also helping him discover which songs will finally make it into his live shows.

“We’re doing something we’ve never done before, which is streaming,” Young told Radio.com last week during the recent ACM Honors ceremony. “So I woke up this morning to people telling me their favorite tracks from the album, which is nice.”

“I’m really ready for the album to be out there,” he continued. “I won’t play a whole lot of new stuff in my set until people can go out there and buy it. That wasn’t always the case. With your first record, you play everything in advance. But now I’m on my fourth album, and I’m ready to move stuff from it onto my set.”

The album’s lead single “Aw Naw” has been climbing the charts since it was released earlier this summer. Young, who co-wrote six of the 11 songs on A.M., penned “Aw Naw” with two hit Nashville tunesmiths, Chris DeStefano and Ashley Gorley.

“They have like four songs in the top 20 right now — they’re killing me!” he said of his two cowriters. “I’m like, ‘you guys are competing with your own songs!’ There’s also a song called ‘Goodbye’ on the record that I’m ready for people to hear, which they wrote, too.”

The 28-year-old Young recently took time off from Brad Paisley’s Beat This Summer Tour, thanks to a serious leg infection that required hospitalization. But now that he’s back in good health, and the tour is winding down, he is keeping his eyes open for whatever practical joke his tour boss, a notorious prankster, will pull on him in the next few weeks.

“He’s going to do something to me at some point, and it’s going to be bigger than what he’s done,” Young insisted. “That being said, I love being out on tour with the guy. Obviously, he’s somebody that I’m also a huge fan of…absolutely amazing. I think he’s going to be a legend. He already is in my mind.”

Young knows a thing or two about legends. He paid tribute to George Jones during the ACM Honors ceremony, by performing a few of his favorite hits by the country music icon, including the classic “He Stopped Loving Her Today.”

“When they first asked me about honoring George Jones, it wasn’t even a question,” he explained. “Luckily, I get to do a medley, and they didn’t ask me to pick one, because I think it’s hard to pick one favorite George Jones song. At least with three, I can kind of narrow it down.”

Young will spend the next few months on the road with Paisley, as well as performing several of his own shows. He was also announced as a special guest on select dates during George Strait’s The Cowboy Rides Away Tour in 2014.

- Gayle Thompson

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