He also discusses being in Vegas during the recent mass shooting: 'Music can heal'

By Madison Vain
October 16, 2017 at 10:10 AM EDT
John Shearer

Country crooner Chris Young is hitting the road. EW can exclusively announce the first leg of the Losing Sleep 2018 World Tour, which kicks off January 11 in Indianapolis and winds through St. Louis, Pittsburgh, and Minneapolis, before wrapping in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, on February 24. Joining him on the run are breakout acts Lanco and Kane Brown.

Tickets for the trek go on sale Friday, October 20, the same day fans will have access to the 32-year-old’s seventh studio LP, Losing Sleep, releases. (Select VIP packages will be available on October 17; they are available on his website.) “It’s a weird kind of tightrope you’re doing,” he says of how his sound and stage performance have evolved. “You want to do new stuff, but you also need to be true to yourself and your fans. You want people who have been there since day one to still love the album and want to listen to the whole thing.”

With nine No.1 country airplay hits to his name, making sure every fan gets to hear their favorites is its own challenge. “I still get yelled at,” he says, laughing. “‘You didn’t play this!’ But, you know, what, that’s fun. That means people care — and that they listened to the albums!”

Even though his 2015 record, I’m Comin’ Over, topped the Billboard Country Albums charts, got nominated for Album of the Year and the ACMs and even received a Grammy nod from the Recording Academy, Young swears he’s feeling more free than ever. “There wasn’t any pressure,” he says. “You always hope for all that stuff but it’s never like, ‘Oh I really called myself there!’ But it’s wonderful to see all that love and if anything, it made me want to get to work on new music quicker.”

And he did. He penned the title track nearly right after Over came out and then went on to co-write every song that made this new album. Says Young, “It wasn’t intentional. I was just very excited and really wanting to continue to create.” Still, he was surprised by a few of the cuts: “As much as I love ‘Where I Go When I Drink,’ when we went in, all I had was a piano vocal. So seeing that come to life — and be even cooler than I thought it would be — was really exciting. We nailed that.”

Young was in Las Vegas for the Route 91 Festival and called it the “scariest night of my life.” In the aftermath of the event, he says he’s more committed to his live dates than ever. “When we finally got out and were safe, I did have a conversation with my family, my manager and my road crew about whether or not to play — because I had a show Wednesday in Fresno. And I decided, for me, music can heal and that my decision would be to go play the show. Everybody will be dealing with this for a long time, and everybody will find different ways to cope, and for me, it’s through music.”

All announced dates are listed below. Tickets can be found on Friday on Young’s website. Losing Sleep is available for pre-order.

January 11: Indianapolis, IN @ Bankers Life Fieldhouse
January 12: Independence, MO @ Silverstein Eye Centers Arena
January 13: St. Louis, MO @ Chaifetz Arena
January 18: Highland Heights, KY @ BB&T Arena
January 19: Grand Rapids, MI @ Van Andel Arena
January 20: Hoffman Estates, IL @ Sears Centre Arena
February 1: Lowell, MA @ Tsongas Center at UMass Lowell
February 2: Bangor, ME @ Cross Insurance Center
February 3: Mashantucket, CT @ Foxwoods Resort Casino
February 8: Pittsburgh, PA @Petersen Events Center
February 9: Fairfax, VA @EagleBank Arena
February 10: Huntington, WV @ Big Sandy Superstore Arena
February 15: Duluth, GA @ Infinite Energy Arena
February 16: St. Augustine, FL @ St. Augustine Amphitheatre
February 17: Estero, FL @ Germain Arena
February 22: Green Bay, WI @ Resch Center
February 23: Minneapolis, MN @ Target Center
February 24: Cedar Rapids, IA @ US Cellular Center