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EP of the Week: American Young - Soundtrack Of Your Life

American Young’s emotional and catchy new song release, “Soundtrack OfYour Life” (August 2, 2019), precedes the release of the duo’s 5-song release ofthe same name on August 23, 2019. “When you’re alone and your mind takes you to certain songs, moments, goodbyes, and forevers, these are the pieces that make up the soundtrack of your life,” shares AmericanYoung’s Jon Stone and Kristy Osmunson. “Gonna Be You,” another track on the “Soundtrack Of Your Life” EP has fluttering opening vocals, the wistful track merges two unique viewpoints. Jon Stone harnesses lead vocals on the first verse as he reflects on the demise of young love, wondering if he’ll ever get a second chance. As if echoing Jon’s thoughts, Kristy Osmunson leads with a female perspective on the second verse as she finds the courage to rewrite the past. Then, like two people who make their way back to each other, their signature harmonies interlace when the song finds its resolve in a relationship that was meant to be.

“I think ‘Gonna Be You’ is a promise,” Jon says, “almost like, ‘I’m out here chasing my meaning in life, and there’s no one I’m ready to be with; but when I am, it’s gonna be you.’”

For Kristy the song serves as a compass. “Life takes us down so many winding roads in pursuit of our dreams,” she observes. “The farther away from home we get, the closer to home we are. Home is where my love is.”

Listeners will feel right at home when they discover their own stories in American Young’s new song, “Gonna Be You.” AMERICAN YOUNG “American” — positive, hard-working, buoyed by faith, driven to succeed. “Young” — curious, optimistic, energetic, resilient, sometimes irreverent. These two words resonate individually. Put them together, as Kristy Osmunson and Jon Stone have done, and they’re damn near unstoppable. American Young — the name — says much about the dreams these two exceptional artists have charted on their own and blended together as musical partners. American Young — the band — fills in this picture with a story that’s compelling even though it’s only beginning. Credit their synchronicity for the way they’ve impacted audiences. In conversation, they complement each other, sometimes finishing each other’s sentences, kind of like how their vocals interact and intensify onstage, whether teasing or steeped in deeper feeling. “Jon’s a perfectionist and a finisher,” Kristy explains. “He works harder than anybody I know. I’m all about the vibe and the feel of the moment. Jon inspires me to focus that on exactly what we’re going for.” “The thing that’s so inspiring for us both is that we’re so different,” Jon agrees. “Everything that drives me crazy about her makes her a star. She’s everything I wish I could be, but once we’re together we’re like Voltron. It becomes selfless; all our needs become secondary to American Young.” That’s our cue to spin back toward the past, to better understand the unity they’ve found as American Young. Begin with Kristy: Born and raised in Idaho, she grew up about as country as anyone could. “You could walk one way for six days and not see another person or a road or any kind of a light. Now, that’s country,” she says. Whenever she made it back home from the wilds, Kristy took violin lessons, both classical and in a more country vein. For a while she toured with a Canadian fiddle group, playing square dances and clogging her heart out with the rest of the ensemble. These skills served her well when she made her move to Nashville. From playing the Broadway honky-tonks to co-founding the electrifying fiddle duo Bomshel to debuting on the Grand Ole Opry to writing the Joey + Rory hit “Cheater, Cheater,” she was well on her way as a solo artist before crossing paths with Jon … … who, while all this was going on, was making a strong impression on his own too. Like Kristy, he comes from the Northwest — Oregon to be exact. He too is country born and bred; for a while he worked as a bull rider. Inevitably he felt the pull of Nashville, where he worked diligently and successfully to build a writing career. (He held down day jobs to pay the rent for a while; one of his colleagues at the Shop at Home Network was a similarly gifted and ambitious young guy named Eric Church.) So on the night Jon and Kristy met four years ago, he was already a sizzling-hot writer, whose songs had been picked up by Kenny Chesney (“Seven Days”), Blake Shelton (“Kiss My Country Ass”), Rascal Flatts (“Me and My Gang”) and many other headliners. He was onstage at McGuinness Pub with one of his best friends, Lee Brice, celebrating their mutual No. 1 success with “A Woman Like You,” written by Jon and cut by Lee, when she walked into the venue. The connection was instant: “I heard Jon and it was like, ‘I’ve got to write with that dude,’” she recalls.

“When God dropped Kristy in my lap, I found a new purpose,” Jon adds. “It became about touching the hearts of, and communicating with, people so they realize they’re not alone. That became my reason — our reason — for creating music.” Embracing the name of American Young and all that it represents musically and personally, they released their first single, “Love Is War,” in late 2013. Now, with release of American Young, their first full-length album, they show how far these past few years have taken them. Each inspired the other to try something crazy on this project. Rather than be guided by trends, they vowed to write and record only music that touched them emotionally. That way, Kristy explains, “our songs are like invitations to intimacy.” These include two songs they’d previously released, “Love Is War” and “God Sends a Train,” both fraught with deep emotional meaning and rendered passionately in their new incarnations. The material being premiered on American Young is just as revealing. From “Something to You,” which Kristy had to fight back tears to record, to the playfully bantering “Point of View” and the timeless yet timely tragedies evoked by “Soldier’s Wife,” the album presents Jon and Kristy with neither apology nor artifice. What they offer in song comes from who they are, not what others would want them to be — plus a winning guest appearance by old pal Lee Brice on the sweetly nostalgic “Eighteen.” Maybe this is a risky strategy. Then again, maybe the time has come at last for honesty to reclaim its place in popular music. “We learned long ago that if you chase the ball, you’re always gonna be behind it,” Jon insists. “But if you figure out what’s unique about you, the ball will come to you. It all comes down to us writing, singing and recording music for us.” Which is to say, for all of us who value reality over conformity — all who are, forever, American Young.


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