Chris Young’s ‘Famous Friends’ Became a Labor of Love For His Fans

Chris Young just announced his next record, Famous Friends, will be out on August 6, marking Young’s first new set of tunes since his 2017 Losing Sleep record.

“We’ve been teasing everybody for years,” Young tells People of his ambitious new project. “It’s been so long that I’ve been talking about all the stuff that I did in the past year-and-a-half, and I think people at one point thought I was just messing with them a little bit. They were like, ‘Do you actually have an album coming out?’ It’s so exciting to have this information out there.”

Famous Friends includes a few collaborations, including one with Lauren Alaina, on a song called “This Town Ain’t Big Enough,” which Young wrote with Cary Barlowe, Corey Crowder and Shay Mooney.

“I wrote ‘Town Ain’t Big Enough’ with Shay intentionally as a duet, and I was like, ‘Man you’ve got to sing harmony with me on this,'” Young recalls. “Then I thought of who I had been out on the road with recently. Lauren was one of the names that [stuck out]. I was like, ‘Let’s call her and see what she can do with it.’ She came over to the studio and sang on the song, and it was perfect.”

Young is also joined by his good friend, Mitchell Tenpenny, on “At the End of a Bar,” which Young reveals was written in the middle of Nashville’s big 2020 snowstorm.

“The snow shut everything down for a week,” Young says. “Everybody was stuck at home for three or four days, but me and Mitchell and Chris [DeStefano] had a date to write on the books for a while. I was like, ‘Man, it’s kind of cleared up a little bit. I don’t have so much ice anymore. I think I can get out.’ And Mitchell said the same thing. We were both like, ‘We’ve got four-wheel trucks. I think we’re good.’ We rode over there to Chris’ house and wrote this song.”

Young previously hinted that he had enough songs for a double album, which is still a possibility in the future.

“I think down the road there is a very easy way to expand this if we have the sort of success on the album that I’m hoping for,” Young teases. “So, there’s definitely a lot more music that I’ve already recorded. But I think these were all the ones that jumped out as really special and that made it a cohesive album.”

For now, Young is ready to get the music out to his fans, and more than ready to hit the road again, for the first time in over a year.

“That’s all that I’ve been wanting, and I’m sure any other musician will say the same thing,” acknowledges the singer. “I’m sure anybody that loves going to concerts will tell you the same thing. We’re back in a place where we can do that. We can do it safely and I can get back out there and play songs, not for a camera somewhere in a room that we’re putting out on the internet. That’s amazing, I love being able to do that for people, but having that face to face reaction with a crowd, there’s nothing that compares.”

Famous Friends might have been a lengthy labor of love for Young, but the end result is more than worth it, at least for him.

“I’m honored to give new music to people, and I hope people love it half as much as I loved the process of creating it,” Young reflects. “For me, this album feels like I’m putting my arms around a whole lot of my friends and letting them all get to be a part of it. So it’s one of the reasons why I’m so pumped about it.”