An air of high expectation and inevitability has always surrounded Chris Young. Anyone who heard him sing, and anyone who experienced his poised and engaging stage show, inevitably decreed that this tall fellow with the friendly smile had what it takes. When they found out he also wrote the best of his songs, people would just smile, shake their heads and say, "That boy is going to be a star." Indeed, Young lives up to everyone's predictions with his self-titled debut on RCA Records. Working with Kenny Chesney producer Buddy Cannon, Young has created a potent debut that puts an up-to-date, contemporary edge on traditional country music.
His triumph on the talent-seeking Nashville Star
series gave Chris Young a promotional push toward the stardom that this well-crafted debut will likely ensure. With a husky baritone that can sound surprisingly supple and mature, the 21-year-old singer-songwriter touches all the bases. He's the goodtime drinking man on "Beer or Gasoline," "White Lightning" (not the George Jones classic), and "Who's Gonna Take Me Home," and he's the man who soberly faces the ultimate price he's paid for drinking on the tearjerker "Flowers." He's as romantically sensitive as a chick flick on "You're Gonna Love Me" and "Center of My World," and he's the lusty lover boy on "Lay It on Me." He's all heartache on "Drinkin' Me Lonely" and all party on "Small Town, Big Time." And it's hard to imagine a goofier novelty song on border relations than "Your Way José," which could be condemned for perpetuating ethnic stereotypes if it didn't make the singer sound dumbest of all. While it may take a few more releases for Young to establish his artistic identity, he's already been designed as the perfect commercial product (produced by Buddy Cannon, who has enjoyed such success with Kenny Chesney and Sara Evans). --Don McLeese