Listening to this duo is a dynamic, unique, and refreshing experience. With their debut EP, American Young, released in 2014, Jon Stone and Kristy Osmunson have been steadily making a name for themselves, not only as prolific songwriters but as entertainers who can leave a lasting impression on a crowd of any size. Their most recent album, AY, displays simple yet effective cover art and the songs contained on this album reflect the same. Each song presents a different melody, a different storyline, and a different side of the duo that highlights how successful they can be as a force in country music today. Highlighted here are a few of the tracks that captured my attention on first listen. I hope they’ll encourage you to explore even further what it means to this pair to be American Young.
Be Here. As the first track on the album, this song caught my attention simply because of the title. Isn’t that the one thing so many of us struggle with today? The ability to stop chasing the next goal, the next paycheck, the next adventure and simply be where we are in that moment? This is a catchy tune because it gives you both that relaxed feeling of rest throughout the verses and just a little more energy and desire waiting to break through in the chorus.
Love Is War. The lyrics and the background drum beat are what drew me to this song. The world around us constantly tries to paint a picture of love as some perfect ideal we need to achieve but Jon and Kristy paint another picture entirely – one of sacrifice and struggle and the knowledge it will be worth it in the end. “Sometimes love is a white flag, sometimes love is standing tall….but it’s worth fighting for…sometimes love is war”.
Slow Ride. You hear a different aspect of the duo here as Jon’s vocals become a little rougher and grittier on this tune and Kristy’s become flirtatious in response. This song is sensual and sultry – perfect for couples who have been together for years keeping a spark alive…and for couples newly formed trying to figure out where the next night will take them.
I think the standout song on this album is Soldier’s Wife (Don’t Want You To Go). Jon and Kristy’s voices blend to create such a soothing sound coming through the speakers, yet you can hear the pain break through at different points when Kristy’s voice alone is highlighted. In painting this heartbreaking image of not wanting to let go of a loved one as they head off to defend their country, you have to wonder how many families or couples have thought, “I don’t want to think about how crazy it gets over…..you telling me not to be scared”.
As successful songwriters and producers already, Jon Stone and Kristy Osmunson have taken a worthy leap into the spotlight as a dynamic new duo with a passion for sharing their stories. “American Young is more than a name. [It] represents a sound with no boundaries”, states Jon on their website. Well, it sounds like American Young is ready to head down that open road of possibilities. As a new fan, I’m happy to be along for that ride.