Songwriters: Shane McAnally, Joan Osborne, Trevor Rosen
At this point, it’s almost hard to believe that just a few short years ago, Chris Young was a cowboy-hatted Nashville Star alum struggling to get airplay with singles that were generally solid, but ‘too country’ for the market. Fast forward to 2012, and “Gettin’ You Home (The Black Dress Song)” has long since gained him admittance into the instant add club, and he has become a reliable hitmaker who continues to make country radio a little more listenable one steel-laden hit single at a time.
Though his song material has at times failed him, the title track and current single from his album Neon finds that rich neotraditional country voice sounding better than ever. Young tackles the song’s verses with appealing subtlety, and then pours himself full-on into the chorus with a quiet intensity, while backed with fiddle and steel that just sounds pure country delicious.
Complementing the beautiful production arrangement and Young’s committed vocal performance, songwriters Shane McAnally, Joan Osborne, and Trevor Rosen provide a solid set of lyrics to complete the trifecta. The lyrics combine imagery of Wyoming skies and Santa Fe sunsets with a few clever turns of phrase here and there, all without compromising the natural ease of flow. It all leads to a familiar everyman destination that has been the setting of many a classic country song – the honky-tonk. All the while, little details in the chorus place the listener right in the midst of the scene, with “a little Johnny Lee” playing on the jukebox in the corner.
With a contemporary spin on a classic country theme, and a melody that wouldn’t sound out-of-place during the glory days of the nineties, “Neon” sounds worthy of neotrad stalwarts such as George Strait and Alan Jackson, with a dash of Clay Walker thrown in for good measure. Thus, “Neon” turns out a most refreshing, invigorating slice of contemporary country music in all its rich, twangy glory, making it arguably Young’s finest single to date. If country radio retains any amount of good taste, this single should follow its predecessors right up the charts.