Chris Young Talks CMA Award Nomination, Cold-Calling Vince Gill and New Christmas Album

Jim Casey talks with Chris Young about the rapid success of his duet with Cassadee Pope, “Think of You,” his CMA Award nomination, how he got in touch with Vince Gill for “Sober Saturday Night,” the daunting challenge of picking songs for his new Christmas album, It Must Be Christmas, his favorite Christmas albums and more.

Show Participants

  • Chris Young
  • Jim Casey, NCD managing editor

Show Links & Notes

Show Quotes

  1. “You’re our first repeat guest on the show. You’re like the Steve Martin of Saturday Night Live for us.” Jim Casey
  2. “We hoped people would like [“Think of You”] but, 15-week run to No. 1 is insanely fast.” Chris Young
  3. “Somebody was just telling me Jon Pardi just had his first No. 1 [‘Head Over Boots’] and it was 47 weeks on the chart. So, when you put those [two songs] next to each other, it’s like, ‘Wow, that is really quick.’” Chris Young
  4. “I didn’t cold-call [Vince Gill] at first, but that’s what it ended up as. I kinda cold-emailed him. I was just gonna ask him if he wanted to be on it and I got an email back saying, ‘Hey, Vince doesn’t really …  email, so you might want to call him.’” Chris Young
  5. “I got to go hang out at Vince Gill’s house all day and, y’know, be in the studio with him, which is just … an incredible feeling. Such a good dude. Just so, so nice. I can’t say that enough. Just being around him is—regardless of the music aspect—is just fun because he’s a good dude.” Chris Young
  6. “[Vince Gill] literally is the nicest guy in country music. I believe that. And if you want him on your record, don’t email him. Just knock on his door, he’s got the studio right there…” Jim Casey
  7. “There are a couple of original songs on [It Must Be Christmas]. Which is fun, because I’ve tried in the past to write Christmas songs and I’ve never really written one that I was like, ‘Man, I love that.’ And this was the first time that—right when we needed it—we kinda got a couple of them.” Chris Young
  8. “My favorite Christmas song is Merle Haggard’s ‘Santa Claus and Popcorn.’ Remember that one? Is there a song […] from your childhood that really jumps out at you that kinda makes you think about your childhood from your Christmas days?” Jim Casey
  9. “That Alan Jackson Christmas record, to me, was—it was that and the Beach Boys Christmas album—those two things had to be played or it wasn’t Christmas time at my house.” Chris Young
  10. “I was actually walking through a supermarket singing [Alan Jackson’s ‘Please Daddy Don’t Get Drunk This Christmas’] at one point my mom was like, ‘You have to stop singing that. People are gonna think there’s something wrong.’” Chris Young
  11. “Whenever I’m in my car right now—doesn’t matter if I’m going to the grocery store, the supermarket, coming to work—I find myself singing ‘I’m Coming Over.’ […] That line is now stuck in my head.” Jim Casey
  12. “Good! That was what we were trying to do! [laughs]” Chris Young


The Writers Room, Ep. 39, 16 minutes
photos by Jason Simanek


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