OFFSTAGE: Chris Young’s Stepdad Inspired the Love Songs

(CMT Offstage keeps a 24/7 watch on everything that’s happening with country music artists behind the scenes and out of the spotlight.)

Chris Young‘s new album, Neon, is full of songs about love. Deep, true, crazy, didn’t-know-it-could-be-this-good love. Yet Young is single. So where did all these hopelessly romantic notions come from? “My stepdad,” he told me when he was in Chicago this past weekend with Jason Aldean. “He is the total, ultimate man. The dude trumps me all the time. I can’t top some of the stuff he’s done. When I was like 11 or 12, he asked my mom to marry him on Valentine’s Day. He got down on one knee, then called us all downstairs and asked her kids if he could marry her. Even the little stuff that he does all the time makes me think, ‘Oh, crap. I’ll ever be able to beat that.’ My dad is totally the guy I will always look up to.” We talked about the litany of songs on this record that make him sound like quite an expert on relationships. “A big part of being a songwriter is that you write on what you know and stories you’ve heard and see in life,” he explained. “The reason I’m able to do that is the relationship my mom and my stepdad have.” So wherever you are, Chris Young’s stepdad, thank you for inspiring songs about getting lost somewhere near nowhere, about letting down her hair because he can take it from there, about loving her like there’s no tomorrow, about feeling like she’s always been in your soul and his new one, “You,” about how the stars are a little dimmer compared to her.

Alison makes her living loving country music. She's based in Chicago, but she's always leaving her heart in Nashville.