With his booming Southern baritone and a sonic presence that often skews toward the conservative end of the spectrum, Chris Young has never been shy about his traditional country influence. But in a new single titled “Raised on Country,” the Tennessee native spells it out in plain English.
Name-checking Merle Haggard, Willie Nelson, Joe Diffie, Hank Williams Jr.’s “Family Tradition” and George Strait — plus a laundry list of other backwoods bona fides — the twangy track celebrates country radio itself. Matching a rough and tumble guitar riff with a boot-stomping beat, Young lays out all the things that make country “the soundtrack to [his] life.”
“I was raised on Merle, raised on Willie / Got my honky-tonk attitude from Joe Diffie / Daddy did too, it’s family tradition / When someone cranks it up you can’t help but listen / My upbringing sounds like George Strait singing,” goes the chorus. “‘Cause if you know me, I was raised on country.”
Co-written by the hitmaker with co-producer Corey Crowder and Cary Barlowe, “Raised on Country” is the first taste of a new, still unannounced project for Young, and the follow-up to 2018’s “Hangin’ On.” That track was part of his seventh studio album, Losing Sleep, and became his ninth straight Top Five hit on Billboard’s Country Airplay chart — a feat that included the Number Ones “I’m Comin’ Over,” “Think of You” (featuring Cassadee Pope), “Sober Saturday Night” (featuring Vince Gill) and “Losing Sleep.” Young just finished up his Losing Sleep 2018 World Tour with Dan + Shay, Morgan Evans and Dee Jay Silver. He has yet to reveal the details of his 2019 tour plans.