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October 07, 2006|CASEY DOLAN

Turning the spotlight on musicians making a commercial breakthrough. -- CASEY DOLAN

"Chris Young"

Chris Young

RCA Nashville

Artist info: Chris Young has a voice with an impressive range extending from a rich baritone hum to a quicksilver-lined falsetto. He's a contender in the time-honored barroom ballad club of country music with his first single "Drinkin' Me Lonely." Young wrote most of the songs on his debut album, which was produced by the sure hands of Buddy Cannon, Kenny Chesney's producer, and appears on the way to making the Top 30 of the national sales chart next week.

Back story: Young comes to the profession of country crooner honestly. His grandfather, Richard Yates, was a Louisiana Hayride performer and played piano and guitar at family gatherings. He was born and raised in Murfreesboro, Tenn., and found his voice early on in children's theater. Eventually he formed bands that found their way into Nashville clubs while he attended college. A booking agent invited him to front a band at Cowboy's saloon in Arlington, Texas, and he honed his stage craft until it proved successful in landing him an audition and winning the 2006 "Nashville Star" reality show. That resulted in his contract with RCA.

Influences: Keith Whitley, Randy Travis, Ronnie Milsap, Alan Jackson

Trivia: His favorite books are the "Harry Potter" series.

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