Chris Young kicked off his first headlining tour with a sold-out show at Nashville's famed Ryman Auditorium last week. The singer-songwriter invited Thomas Rhett and Joanna Smith to join him on the Liquid Neon trek, and says he couldn't be happier with his opening acts.

"One of the cool things about being in charge of the tour is getting to pick who you take out," Chris told The Boot and other reporters at a recent media event. "I know there were a lot of people that wanted Thomas Rhett to come out with them. There are a lot of tours going on, especially in November and December. I obviously have a connection with him, not only through me and him doing shows on the road, but also, I've written a lot with his dad [Rhett Akins]."

In fact, Chris's current single, "I Can Take It From There," was co-written by Thomas, along with hit writer Ben Hayslip. "I obviously love his new single, 'Beer With Jesus,'" Chris explains. "I really love his writing ability and what he's been able to do so far. I think he's got a long career ahead of him."

Chris is also excited to have newcomer Joanna Smith out with him, having pursued her after hearing only a demo of one of her songs. "I was actually sitting on my bus, talking about ... the fall [tour]," he recalls. "It was way early in the year. My head of promotion played me, 'We Can't Be Friends.' I said, 'Damn, that's good. Can we get her? Can she come out and open?' I just kind of said it as an aside."

The singer-songwriter thinks his two opening acts perfectly round out the trek. "That's always another thing to think about, being in charge of your tour. I want something that's going to be different hits throughout the show. I want people to really pay for a ticket and get the experience of it. I think it's going to be really cool having both of them. They're different, and I love their music, so I'm happy to have them out on the road."

See Chris's Liquid Neon tour schedule here.

Watch Chris Perform 'Neon' Live

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