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Exclusive Q and A: Chris Young Talks Hit Songs, Radio Requests and Female Fans

OurStage Exclusive InterviewsChris Young is on fire and that’s not just because he’s on the Miranda Lambert tour of the same name. Young’s 2011 release Neon debuted at No. 4 and his last five singles have gone to No. 1 at country radio while Tomorrow, Voices, and You were certified Gold.

Just before hosting a recent online chat with hundreds of his fans, during which he debuted his video for Neon, the multi-award winner took time to talk a bit about his music, radio requests, and just how fans show their enthusiasm for his music.

OS: This has been quite a year or so for you. Looking at everything, all the songs, all the awards, what has been the best thing so far?

CS: Well, when you are booking [concerts] a year out, that’s really nice! I remember a time when we weren’t even booking weeks out.

OS: How have things been going on Miranda’s On Fire tour?

CY: We have been out with her since January and it has been unreal! She is a sweetheart and one of the best people to tour with. Everything is what is mine is yours.

OS: So what does that allow you to do on stage?

CY: I love to mess with our intros and [the ends of songs] and do covers, and sometimes do a song in a show that is really broken down, have the drummer kick down the brushes and pull the acoustics out and kind of mess with some of our songs.

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National Q&A: Aaron Lewis

OurStage Exclusive InterviewsAaron Lewis’ iconic career with Staind made him an alt rock idol but he’s proven he’s the “Country Boy” behind the hit song. Town Line, Lewis’ five-song country debut, is slated for release this spring. Lewis has been on an acoustic tour during which he plays several of his country tunes such as “Forever” and “Grand Daddy’s Son,” plus some of his Staind hits including “Outside” and “It’s Been Awhile.” As Lewis and Staind start the countdown to the band’s massive tour, which begins next month, and look ahead to a new album release this summer, Lewis took time to talk to OurStage about his career, his music, and just what he see ahead.

OS:  What do you plan to play on your next solo dates?

AL: I’m just going to play my normal set that includes the five songs on my country release. The whole rest of the evening is the [Staind music]. We’ll see how that goes and we’ll see what the [audience] enjoys. There will likely be a lot of Staind fans.

OS: What song from the new album do you most remember writing?

AL: “The Story Never Ends”” the first song off the record. It came to me in a beer stand in Paducah, Kentucky [when I was on a hunting trip]. I looked up at my [friend] and asked him if he had a pen and paper. I got back to the camp and sat down with the guitar and went to the studio that day and was bouncing back and forth between the hunting camp and recording.

OS: How did it come together?

AL: I kind of played a cord progression and half figured it out. The rest of the guys were sitting there and I was just thinking about what we were doing. Within an hour, I had it recorded.

OS: That’s amazing that it came together so quickly.

AL: The problem is that I don’t have any control over it! It can happen that easily or not at all!

OS: A lot of fans are surprised that you have recorded a country album. What brought you to that?

AL: I grew up with country. I spent a lot of time with [my] grandfather, especially a lot in the summertime. He lived twenty-five minutes from our house. I stayed there all summer [when I was young] and he was a country music fanatic. It was always on, always, always, always.

[Not long ago when] I heard Kid Rock playing old country music, it  brought back all sort of memories. It kind of is the soundtrack of my childhood and I haven’t really been able to escape it since. Now I’m always listening to country. I love “Willie’s Place” [on satellite radio].

OS: So what was the first country song you wrote?

AL: “Country Boy” was my first attempt at writing a country song. It’s heavily laden with stereotypical country lines about whiskey and granddad, don’t tread on me. A lot of that was very cliche, but a lot of it was [written in a] very tongue-in-cheek manner. I was trying to write a country song that when it was finished and people started hearing it, they could [relate]. It really got me to thinking about country [music] more. It’s really in my brain now.

OS: What has the reaction been from your band mates and fans who enjoy your rock?

AL: Everybody is very supportive of me doing this. It has affected things a little bit [for Staind] especially in the recording process. I wanted to record a Staind album when my solo was released. This was the first time in my career that I ever had a deadline [as I did to finish the Staind album for a release this summer]. I never had this kind of stress where it had to be finished by this date or we will be severely financially punished. That caused some inner turmoil.

OS: What does your country debut mean for Staind?

AL: By contract I will tour behind the new record I put out and at the end of that I probably will have found time within the touring schedule go back into the studio in Nashville. When we are done with [tours for] Staind, I will take time off and be with the family and start into the solo cycle and a new record and tour.

I have never been opposed to making music with Staind but as I get older and life goes on, I am missing things”I never can rewind and get them back. There will come a point that I never want to do it like this anymore.

Find out more about Aaron Lewis’ music and tours on his Web site.

Don’t miss Lewis’ “Country Boy” video below that includes Charlie Daniels, Chris Young and George Jones.

Your Country's Right Here: Kip Moore Trucks into the Big Time

Kip Moore may have had a hard time getting the girl, but she left him with an idea that has him positioned to skyrocket into country’s elite.

“Somethin’ ‘Bout a Truck,” the first single off Moore’s upcoming April release Drive Me Crazy, is all about the elusive girl in high school that finally agreed to date Moore and was overly thrilled when he came calling in his father’s Chevrolet Silverado truck. Talking about that experience with his his songwriting buddy Dan Couch and the two quickly came up with the song that’s won him critical and popular acclaim.

“I have all those memories in my head. I grew up in a town where you had to make your own fun,” said Moore of his Tifton, Georgia upbringing. “I have so many memories, they’re actually like country songs playing, about fishing and singing and sitting on the tailgate [of a truck] drinking beer. In small town America, that’s what you did.”

As much as he loved those laid back times and ones that followed when he lived in a Hawaii, he couldn’t shake the muse that chased him toward a life as a songwriter and performer.

“When I was in college I was playing, doing the the whole cover band thing. That was my livelihood,” he said. “But where I’m from, you never hear about people making a living making music. I really never thought it would happen. That’s when I said ‘Screw it,’ bought a one way ticket to the Big Island [of Hawaii] and winged it….But I had my guitar and I just started writing a whole bunch.

“I think I am capable of doing a lot of things, but [creating music] is the only thing makes my heart happy.”

Moore landed in Nashville about the same time as Chris Young and Keifer Thompson of Thompson Square and spent a good portion of his early time there making the rounds to Nashville songwriting circles, going to shows, and absorbing as much of the art of songwriting and performing as he could.

“From a very young age my dad would take me trout fishing and through my dad I was fortunate enough to be raised on really good singer songwriters like Bruce Springsteen and Jackson Browne,” said Moore, noting his piano-playing mother also exposed him to a host of artists including those in the country format. “I loved the melodies of the songs but when I was listening to lyrics when I was seven, eight, nine years old, hadn’t lived enough to really grasp [their meaning].

“I started writing a whole lot when I got older. I got started when I was able to understand the life behind those those lyrics, because I’d lived more and gone through situations and hard times.”

As he looks ahead to the spring release of his debut album, Moore talks about some of those hard times including working his way up in Nashville with the support of friends including Young and Thompson.

“You make friends with people who are hungry like you, and having something to prove like you,” he said. “Those are the people who help you figure it all out because you’re very, very poor. We all kind of talked each other off the ledge.”

Now as he prepares to begin a tour with Billy Currington, Moore can see the gold ring within reach. Perhaps that’s what makes him even more demanding of himself, his writing, his performing and his style. He talks about what he calls his perfectionism in the studio and his relentless studying of his own shows as well as those of other performers.

“This is kind of bad to say but I know I will not be as happy doing anything else,” he said of the diligence he brings to his work at a time when many artists might feel they’d earned some time to step back. “This is hard for me to say, but it’s this or nothing for me.”

Find out about Kip Moore, including his tour dates, on his Web site.

Don’t miss Kip Moore’s video for “Somethin’ ‘Bout a Truck”:

SEPTEMBER CD RELEASES YOU SHOULD BE EXCITED ABOUT

OSBlog02_CCE_MASTERSeptember marks beginnings. A new school year, a new season”and on the country music scene”a new excitement for some long-anticipated album releases. Classic artists like Kris Kristofferson, Terri Clark and John Fogerty are releasing albums this month alongside some newer acts who are itching to release albums that measure up to their fellow artists. Here are a few that struck a chord (literally) with us, and are guaranteed a spot in our hearts and our music libraries.

Newbie Chris Young

Newbie Chris Young

Chris Young kicked off this month of scintillating September releases with his sophomore album, The Man I Want to Be. Having won Nashville Star back in 2006, and after a less than stellar sale of his self-titled debut CD, Young refreshes his approach. Young uses his deep, soulful voice to wriggle his way into the hearts of nation-wide radio listeners. His current Top 15 chart hit, Getting You Home chronicles a date any of his fans most definitely dream of being on the other end of, and has won him accolades and anticipation for this new release. This 24-year-old crooner is bringing back some old-school country sounds, ones that haven’t been popular since before his time. The traditional sound of this album, mixed with modern ingredients like his relatable lyrics and down right good looks, make it a hit with both grandparents and grandchildren, and hopefully a undeniable success for this relative newcomer.

Kix and Ronnie

Kix and Ronnie

Take out your tissues. If you haven’t already rushed to buy it, make sure to pick up Brooks & Dunn’s #1’s¦And Then Some, Ronnie and Kix’s last album together. This compilation came on the heels of their announcement that after 20 years of¦riding this trail together the duo is ready to call it a day. The #1’s will include the all the ear-pleasing hits Brooks & Dunn fans have grown to love ever since the duo’s first #1,  Brand New Man graced the charts in 1991.  And rest assured, with this album in your CD player, you can keep boot scootin’ boogie-in’ long after Ronnie and Kix perform at their last rodeo.

Miranda's Album Cover

Miranda's Album Cover

Miranda Lambert’s Revolution hits stores on September 29 with 15 new songs from the pretty-in-pink guitar-playing rocker. Having written all but 3 tracks, Lambert says that these songs really helped her get to know herself, and hopes fans learn and welcome who she is. Judging from her first single, “Dead Flowers”, which was planted firmly on Country’s Top 40, it is safe to say more chart success is to come. This album is the successor to her 2008 American Country Music Album of the Year, Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, which was certified gold shortly after its May 1, 2007 release. Judging by her past albums, Revolution should be filled with both gut-wrenching ballads as well as scorn-filled revenge rockers. And, what will set this record apart from most is Lambert’s uncanny way of making torturing your cheating boyfriends sound oh-so ladylike.

Whether they’ve hit the shelves already or are still anxiously waiting their release, these albums are filled with a variety of quality songs. And if the singles aren’t enough to convince you to buy these new releases, let’s hope this blog was!

TIM MCGRAW MADNESS AT MEADOWBROOK

OSBlog02_CCE_MASTERCheese and wine aren’t the only things that get better with age. Just ask Faith Hill. On Saturday night her husband, Tim McGraw, rocked the house at the Meadowbrook U.S Cellular Pavilion in Guilford, NH and, MAN, did he look good. Not only because of his signature tight shirt with plunging neckline, but because of how he worked the crowd. From the very first song, McGraw had the fans on their feet, rocking to the beat.

Chris Young- Future Headliner

Chris Young- Future Headliner

McGraw’s opening act, Chris Young, warmed up the audience with songs from his first and recently released second album. His deep, baritone voice smoothly seduced the crowd into feeling as though they were listening to a headliner. When Young finally got to his first Top 10 hit, Getting’ You Home, we couldn’t believe it was actually the end of his set.  He peaked then left fans hungry for more. So when Tim took the stage, every single person in the audience was ready to rock!

McGraw’s show truly showcased why he is the sexiest man in country, and while the show hit

Tim McGraw- Country Music at it's Finest

Tim McGraw- Country Music at it's Finest

some amazing highs, there were a few bummer-worthy moments. At first, it felt as though McGraw was just going through the motions, not really talking to the audience”just singing song after song. And, after drinking four Red Bulls on stage, I expected explosive energy but, to my dismay, the oomph was not delivered. However, as the set warmed up, he explained the reason why he didn’t talk much” the audience paid good money to be here, and if you’ve been to our show before, you know we don’t do much bullshit, we just play music. Relief washed over me as I realized his lack of conversation was a conscious choice, not mere aloofness. McGraw then exhibited what I hoped was genuine emotion for all of his heart-tugging classics, and I was reminded of just why I was so desperate to come to the show. The fact that he played nearly every hit, and made playing music his number one priority offset the minor faux pas. Every bit the southern gentleman, he promised to warn us when playing his new singles, and begged us not to run off to the bathroom just because [he’s] playing new stuff. No warning was needed. The new hits, Good Girls, Southern Boys, Had to be There and current single, It’s a Business Doing Pleasure With You, cemented his legacy as a Nashville hit maker. Tim McGraw is a performer that aims to please. He is careful to sing the songs that anyone who listens to country radio knows, and most likely, loves. Overall, the show was success, and the audience was left awe-struck.

By the time his 2 hour set ended, I had had my fill of fantastic country music but would have listened to Tim serenade me for hours more. Because I didn’t just like it, I loved it. And I definitely wanted more of it! Mission accomplished McGraw!