Bold Point Park concerts return with country star Chris Young kicking off summer series

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You may not have heard of his childhood friends, but the pals country singer-songwriter Chris Young grew up with in Tennessee now have a famous friend in him.

Young, whose May 27 show at East Providence's Bold Point Park will launch the return of the venue's summer concert series after two quiet COVID years, first became part of the A-list out of Nashville with his album and song titled “Famous Friends,” a tribute to a teacher, police officer and others back in his hometown.

“Yes, they are actual human beings I grew up with — those are their real names and everything,” Young says with a chuckle in a phone interview. “At first, I was like, ‘Is this too personal? Will people react to it?’ Well, I guess they did!”

Country music star Chris Young and his "Famous Friends" tour will perform at Bold Point Park on May 27.
Country music star Chris Young and his "Famous Friends" tour will perform at Bold Point Park on May 27.

The hit made Young the most nominated artist at this year’s Academy of Country Music Awards ceremony, earning him nods for single, album, video and music event of the year.

Getting personal is the hallmark of his songwriting, as in his latest hit, “At the End of the Bar,” a collaboration with his friend Mitchell Tenpenny, who will perform with him at the May 27 show.

“Most of the stuff comes from real life,” he says, admitting that songwriting is “trial and error. It’s a craft you never stop learning.”

Young has been playing music since he was young, and it's in his blood. His grandfather, Richard Yates, a performer on the radio and television show “Louisiana Hayride,” would play him 45s of Marty Robbins and Lefty Frizzell.

“He gave me a lot of history, and I was hooked," Young says. "The first song I learned to sing was ‘Diggin' Up Bones,’ which was not something you want your child to be singing,” he says, referring to the Randy Travis song.

Earlier this month: East Providence native has key role in 'My Fair Lady' tour

Travis is just one of the contemporary artists Young says influenced his style. He adds Tracy Lawrence, Garth Brooks and Brad Paisley to the mix, along with “people I grew up listening to, and my own influence.”

When asked, he sums himself up as “a neotraditionalist who can push the boundaries and be a little contemporary.”

“That’s the thing about country music — we’re not afraid to sing about anything,” Young says.

His singing career took off after he won season four of the reality competition “Nashville Star” in 2007, but even with a record deal he beat the streets asking stations to play his music.

“There was four years of the center seat on Southwest and economy rental cars as I went around asking people to play my songs,” he recalls. “But, it all worked out, so I’m OK with that. My path taught me patience. I’m ADD, and not a good listener, so that was a good thing.”

Bold Point Park's 2022 Waterfront Concerts series will also feature:

• Bon Iver with Bonny Light Horseman, June 11

• Trombone Shorty’s Voodoo Threauxdown, June 17

• Papa Roach & Falling in Reverse, July 27

• Mitski, July 28

• A Day to Remember, Aug. 2

• Tesla, Aug. 3

• Chris Lane, Aug. 12

Buddy Guy will perform Aug. 13, with Kenny Wayne Shepherd.
Buddy Guy will perform Aug. 13, with Kenny Wayne Shepherd.

• Buddy Guy and Kenny Wayne Shepherd, Aug. 13

• Jason Bonham’s Led Zeppelin Evening, Aug. 18

• Whitesnake, Aug. 19

• Kip Moore, Aug. 20

• One Night of Queen, Aug. 24

• Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit, Aug. 26

Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit will perform on Aug. 26.
Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit will perform on Aug. 26.

• Interpol and Spoon, Aug. 28.

• Brett Eldredge, Sept. 15

• Jake Owen, Sept. 23

If you go ...

What: Chris Young

When: May 27, 6:30 p.m.

Where: Bold Point Park, 555 Waterfront Drive, East Providence

Tickets: $59.50

Info: waterfrontconcerts.com

This article originally appeared on The Providence Journal: East Providence venue to host Chris Young to kick off summer concerts