Chris Young: Great Things Happen in A.M.

First Single From Upcoming Album Still Climbing the Charts

After being hospitalized earlier this month with a leg infection, Chris Young is back on the road and ready to debut his fourth studio album, A.M., on Sept. 17.

With “Aw Naw,” the project’s first single, in the Top 20 and still climbing on Billboard’s country airplay chart, Young recently took a moment to celebrate the album’s release.

“It’s exciting,” he told CMT Hot 20 Countdown . “This is something that is a couple of years on the road of writing songs, having experience, getting out there, trying to decide what I wanted to do next as an artist. And now it’s finally in the jewel case. … The process of going out and buying that first copy, for me, is still a really big deal.”

Contrary to what some observers may believe, Young says the album’s title is not necessarily suggestive of a wild night.

“The reason that I named the record A.M. is not just because the title track is a party song where everything gets wilder and crazier in the a.m.,” he said. “Everybody always says that nothing good happens after midnight — and there’s plenty of great stuff. There’s life moments where it could be you’re at a concert, and you run into someone, and there’s instantly that love at first sight attraction to them. Moments like that really can change your life and shape your life, and I thought the title as a whole, A.M., just really encompassed what was on this record.

While Young admits there are exciting new differences on this album, fans will still get the Chris Young sound they know and love.

“I think the biggest thing moving into this record from the last record, we did some stuff — you know, studio nerd stuff,” he said. “We mixed it differently. We mastered a little bit different — stuff that nobody really cares about. They just want to know if it sounds good.

“But, musically, I definitely wanted to capture especially the up-tempo songs like what I do live. You know, we play a lot of up-tempo stuff at our show and haven’t really had the singles at radio be that stuff. I’ve had some hits with ballads and some mid-tempo. I think that everybody could tell right off the bat with ’Aw Naw’ being the first single that it’s just a little bit different record than the stuff I’ve done before. It’s fun for me to artistically take it another step.”

Since winning the Nashville Star TV talent competition in 2006,Young has enjoyed some impressive career strides, including selling out a concert at Nashville’s legendary Ryman Auditorium.

“Honestly, there’s so many exciting and really cool things that I’ve gone through from being an opening act to being the middle act on tour to now starting to become a headlining act, headlining the Ryman, selling out the Ryman,” he said. “You definitely hear that in my music and see it in who I am as an artist.”

For the latest country music news, tune into CMT Hot 20 Countdown on Saturdays at 11:30 a.m. ET/PT.