While this Monday might not bring much warmer weather with it, today we’re featuring an artist that can make it feel like 85 degrees with a cool ocean breeze no matter when it is or where you are. Also not by coincidence, today happens to be this man’s birthday (we’ll leave it to you to look up how old he is), so there’s all the more reason to celebrate his life’s work as a country music icon. Hailing from Knoxville and eventually tearing his way through Nashville, this Tennessee legend is a whole lot of fun and beach-country’s finest. Today, with our thirteenth #MondayHero, we honor the tan man with a country caravan, Mr. Kenny Chesney.
After receiving an advertising degree from East Tennessee State University (check out his ETSU alumni page!) Chesney decided that writing and playing music was his true calling. Using money from his solo-produced album work during college he bought a new guitar and packed his bags for Nashville. After a short time playing Broadway honkytonks and bars, he left the everyday nightlife and spent time perfecting his craft of songwriting. To this day, all but two of Chesney’s records (he has sixteen major label releases in 23 years…) include songs written by him and are rounded out by songs he co-writes with some of Nashville’s finest songwriters. (Once in a while, he’ll even remake a song written by Bruce Springsteen.)
Throughout Chesney’s remarkable career he has been able to define a persona for himself; by carving out a discography that ranges from yearning ballads to classic country honkytonks, and booze-driven bar confessions to reggae-infused beach anthems, he proves that his brand is defined yet indefinite. Regardless of the subject matter, Chesney’s soothing Southern tenor has just enough twang and tenacity to convince us that no matter what it is he’s saying, it’s important. Kenny has the power and prowess to not only make sixteen studio albums in the two-and-a-half decades he’s been in Nashville, but to have almost every one of them become certified Gold or Platinum. On top of that, he has twenty-eight number one singles (starting with 1997’s “She’s Got It All” and terminating most recently in his duet with P!nk, “Setting The World On Fire”).
Aside from Kenny’s impressive recording career, his live music career is what sets him apart from many other popular acts in country music. Since his Greatest Hits Tour back in 2001, Chesney has headlined sixteen more nationwide tours, essentially making his way across America every single year since then. His touring has had such a positive and measurable effect on his career that he has since established his No Shoes Nation line of branded merchandise, and effectively sells out football stadiums across the country year in and year out. The NSN brand has become so popular that recently even Sirius XM radio established “No Shoes Radio”, Kenny’s very own radio station dedicated to his preferred blend of country, reggae, and acoustic rock music.
In addition to wishing Kenny a happy birthday today on his social accounts below, make sure to grab tickets on his website to his upcoming Summer 2018 Trip Around The Sun Tour, which is celebrating his latest release, 2016’s Cosmic Hallelujah. And of course, either before or after reading up on R&B NYC’s Kenny Chesney featured four songs below, listen to our Chesney playlist on Spotify!
Kenny Chesney #FeaturedFour:
- “Trip Around The Sun” (2016) – Leading off his latest record, this track is as definitive as Chesney’s recent career gets, both musically and lyrically. Naturally, the bouncing acoustic guitar throughout the intro and chorus levitates the track to a place where summer vibes and southern comfort run wild and free. At the same time, while Chesney projects honesty and hope into the microphone we get the sense that in the confusion, slightly dystopian political atmosphere of today, sometimes it’s best to just kick back and enjoy what we have. In the timeline of the universe, our lives are just a “drop over a waterfall” says Chesney, “so let’s drink another beer, [cheers] to another year, and take another crazy trip around the sun.”
- “Don’t Blink” (2007) – Showcasing Chesney’s heavier, equally as thoughtful side, this cut from his tenth studio album portrays the wise advice of a man on the verge of turning one hundred years old. In an even earlier attempt than the previous track to convey spontaneity and appreciation, Chesney dishes out timeless advice over a background track that would make both a dark, sullen dive bar and a dusty, sun-soaked front porch feel like the perfect setting to receive such sagely words. Blinking or not, all you need to make the most of this number are open ears and an open mind.
- “When I See This Bar” (2013) – Co-written by Chesney and Keith Gattis, this slower tune is equal parts celebratory and sentimental. While everyone has that special place (be it a bar or not) that reminds them of friends, family, or good times, it’s inevitable that eventually people move on and things change. This song, combining an acoustic strum/fill pattern with an electric guitar overlay, pays homage to the places and experiences that, despite the crowd changing and time passing, still remain at the forefront of our minds and the bottom of our hearts. Grab a glass and make a toast to the great times had and the better times ahead.
- “Guitars And Tiki Bars” (2005) – One of Kenny’s older tracks, we highlighted this track as the last of the #FeaturedFour to portray the laid-back, lifeguard persona that Chesney has so appropriately adopted in his recent years. Moving away from the button-down tractor man and into the realm of tank top surfer dude, Chesney blends all things reggae into this summertime beach song; from steel drums to caribbean guitar patterns, this song never fails to clear the clouds and turn up the temperature, 24/7, 365.
Thanks for tuning in!
– R&B NYC