Kenny Chesney Biography
Review The Artist (51)
"I grew up in a very small town, went to a small elementary, then high school - and got to play football as a starter. I skinny dipped and fished in a lake, had my heart broken by my high school girlfriend. I`ve lived like a lot of guys listening to my music live? And I think that`s why people buy my records, because they can relate to the guy singing those songs: They feel like the songs are about their lives, because they`re about my life - and I`m not all that different from them, even now."
Kenny Chesney, the pride of Luttrell, Tennessee, is actually quite a bit different. With back-to-back double platinum records for Everywhere We Go and Greatest Hits, multiple week chart-toppers and career definers with "I Lost It," "How Forever Feels," "Don`t Happen Twice," "She Thinks My Tractor`s Sexy" and "Fall In Love," the launch of his first true major headlining tour, he`s the Everyguy who proves that dreams can come true.
No Shoes, No Shirt, No Problems finds Kenny Chesney again holding a mirror up to himself -- and all the folks back where he comes from. If the 12 songs contained herein are a little older, a little wiser, a little more aware, they still capture the unbridled joy being young, life lived for the pure feeling of it and the unburnished emotions of people who prefer to experience rather than analyze what`s happening to them.
From the opening notes of "Young," a song that celebrates the thrill of all the things you can do before you know what you can`t -- tempered by the acceptance that comes with the wisdom of being grown, No Shoes is a record that looks at the phases of youth coming into their own. Whether it`s the haunted yearning of the Conway-esque "I Remember," the tortured understanding of Bruce Springsteen`s conflict of faithlessness and jagged hearts "One Step Up," the make-it-happen-in-spite-of-those-who-say-you-can`t feel-good anthem "Big Star" or the tropicali attitude adjustment that informs the title track, Chesney understands the phases and stages of growing up, the thrill of football and falling in love, the pain of loss and regrets.
"I think I was strong enough to put more of myself in these songs. . . because it`s scary to put yourself out there like this," the man deemed "Country`s Hottest Bachelor" by Country Weekly confesses. "To show people your doubts, your hurts, and even your mistakes, to be willing to show people that part of yourself, the part that`s so human and raw and aching - well, it`s the hardest thing about this.
"But if you truly have the audience I believe I do, then you owe them that. After all, I can`t imagine giving them less than the truth -- and since the last album, I lived a lot of life and learned a lot of lessons. It`s all here, if you listen."
Certainly "A Lot of Things Different" does that. Written by Bill Anderson and Dean Dillon, the half-spoken, half-sung meditation on passing up opportunities in the moment that might define one`s life, "A Lot of Things Different" is a plea to live every chance, savor every sensation and to experience the richness of the journey so that one can embrace the fullness of it all.
"Regrets are the one thing I believe most people live with in one way or another," Chesney allows. "Everybody lives with it, because we all have times in our life when we didn`t take the extra step, didn`t go out on that limb -- whether it was asking that one girl out or standing up for something we believed in. Whatever it is? so, you wonder what if? And you wonder what it would have felt like.
"To me, we should live our lives to experience it all, to seek happiness, to be the things we believe in. But it`s scary, that sense of getting hurt? so what did we pass up? And that is the real tragedy, far worse than the longing for what wasn`t. It`s what drew me to `A Lot of Things Different` from the first line.
"You know, `I`d`ve spent a lot more time in the pouring rain without an umbrella, covering my head?` is almost like what it feels like to be chasing your dreams. Being out on the road sometimes, you feel like an astronaut, rolling in your own little world, going to another town -- totally disconnected from anything resembling a normal life. You hit that stage, though, and you see those people, hear them connecting with your life, seeing their lives in these songs -- and you remember why.
"Being disconnected isn?t painful. You give some things up. But look at what you gain: kinda like being out in the rain, without an umbrella. It`s not bad, really, and if you feel it for what it is, it`s actually pretty nice."
Not that everything Kenny Chesney does is seriousness on top of contemplation. As he`s the first to admit, "Not every song has to change the world. I love serious songs, but people need a release, something that makes you smile and laugh and forget about it. Those songs are important, too, especially for people trying to make it all make sense.
"So if it moves you in the heart, or the soul, or the hips, then we`re connecting somehow, somewhere that works. And you know, it`s always been so."
With "Young" Chesney has found a way to merge content with that infectious feel good beat. And the merger of groove and bigger reality also informs "Never Gonna Feel Like That Again," a breezy song about phases in a young man`s life -- from playing football as a kid, to falling in love and making love for the first time, to having to face the consequences of two kids in lust in a way where ultimately each transition leaves the singer richer for the passage.
There`s even "Live Those Songs Again," a song capturing an aging hippie, who finds his life`s definition -- albeit a life that was much less than he`d imagined post-Vietnam, post-Summer of Love, post-burn out -- in the music that he loved. Riding a wave of glimpses of Creedence and Buddy Holly and the Haight Ashbury scene, he can still go back to a time when shooting out the lights was all that mattered and escape the drudgery life can sometimes become.
Kenny Chesney knows about music`s power of personal delivery. Arriving in Nashville as the Garth/Clint/Vince/Alan wave was breaking, he knew he wanted to sing. He also recognized that he didn`t have any of the distinguishing elements that set those artists apart. But he burned with his dream -- and as the world`s smallest, slowest starting receiver ("It was a tiny school," he laughs), hard work and staying at something you want wasn`t an alien concept.
"I made up my mind I was going to figure out how to make my living playing music," says the veteran of Chucky?s in Johnson City where he played 5 nights a week for tips while attending East Tennessee State University. "Having done that, I figured I could scrape out a gig somewhere in Nashville, anything playing music was fine."
When Chesney said anything, he literally found one of the most meager homes there was: the Turf. A time-battered honky tonk on the worst part of Nashville`s once vibrant Lower Broad. If it was once a Ryman overflow haunt, the Turf`s times had grown rough -- mixing tourists with drunks, dreamers that never made it, working girls and the faded refugees that wanted their country music real in the truest sense of the word.
Kenny Chesney fit right in. A kid from a small town in East Tennessee who loved Conway and Waylon, George Jones and Lefty Frizzell, Willie Nelson and George Strait and Merle Haggard, Vern Gosdin and John Conley and whatever else hardcore country fans wanted to hear.
"I played 5 or 6 nights a week if I could get it, 4 hours minimum for five dollars an hour and tips," Chesney remembers. "When you`re making music in Music City, it?s all okay. I had a bad little tape someone helped me put together. Clay Bradley, who was at BMI at the time, helped me eventually get a publishing deal at Acuff Rose and that kind of lead to my Capricorn deal.
"It was one of those things where, looking back, it?s hard to believe you didn`t get discouraged or doubt, but in the moment, it all felt like it was happening, because you didn`t know what happening really was. It?s funny? I played the Gaylord Center (Nashville`s arena) on New Year`s Eve and there were almost 12,000 people. The Gaylord Center isn`t 100 yards from where the Turf used to stand before a tornado blew it away.
"I was onstage, looking at those people -- and it was like all of a sudden, I remembered having that New Year`s Eve gig at the Turf eight years ago. It was like maybe 10 people, but it was such a big deal to be working THAT night in Nashville? and in that moment, I just got lost because it was all a blur, every last bit of it. And you know? I`m not sure that the thrill -- even though the sound and the crowd`s energy was much bigger -- was all that different."
This is a confession not from a man who doesn`t appreciate where he is, but someone who`s never lost touch with his core. Over the four years since Everywhere established the quick-to-laugh, never-one-to-shy-away-from-what-needs-to-be-done young man as a force to be reckoned with, he`s still finding his fans are as much a mirror of who he is as he is who they are.
"To me, everybody talks about what?s country? Well, I think first and foremost, it`s about being true, singing about people really live their lives. And it can be some dumb little moment that maybe doesn`t seem like much, but is probably one of the moments that defines your life.
"I still am a fan -- and I know what mattered to me," he continues softly but pointedly. "I used to be that guy out front in the baseball cap, and I drove to see Keith Whitley at an (W)IVK listener appreciation show by myself to hear him sing `Don`t Close Your Eyes` and `Miami, My Amy.` And you know? I still will, still do -- because music is how we connect.
"Talking to people, especially about the stuff that matters, can be hard. When you sing or listen to a song, it just opens up doors. Whether it`s something like `I Can`t Go There,` which is about not being able to go places you love because the memories of what you lost are too strong, or `Young,` which is remembering how much fun being young is, or `How Forever Feels,` which is just the thrill of falling in love, it`s very real in a very basic way.
"I think people realize that. I`m not so different from them, they hear it in the songs -- and I`m like their buddy. You know, it`s not a bad way to make friends."
For Kenny Chesney, of the nearly 8 million albums sold, the soon-to-be arena-sized headliner, the inevitable chart-climber, that`s all cake. For him, it`s about the guy in the baseball hat and the girl that guy thinks is pretty. Real life the double platinum boy, who finds his solace in the ocean, realizes doesn`t always show up with the gilded edges and profound pronouncements -- you gotta find the truth as it rolls by with tan lines, an easy smile and a twinkle in its eye. And you know, so far, that`s worked just fine.
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Simple Perfection | Reviewer: GTB | 5/10/13
As a father of 4 teenagers and married to the same woman for 22 years, Kenny's music resonates with me on every level of my life. His music has inspired me for many years and still does. I find myself listening to his music on a regular basis to decompress after a hard day at the office. My wife and I spend lots of time in the islands so I love the southern, laid back spin on his music in recent years. He is nothing less that awesome! Just attended his latest concert in Grand Rapids, MI and couldn't believe again what a talented guy he is. He amazes me with his Simple yet Perfect songs each time he opens his mouth to sing. Love him and what he stands for!
kenny (my husband) ((: | Reviewer: emilyy (: | 11/25/12
kenny , if you read this , im just going say , we are getting married and have one kid together (: i love everything about you and you have always been my favorite singer since i was little . my dad and i used to jam out in the car to your music and still do ! your my idol and i love you !!!!! <3 <3
A Down Home Country Boy | Reviewer: little bit o'nothin | 4/22/12
Hi Kenny, I just wanted to tell you I love your music!!! I have never had the opportunity to be able to go to one of your concerts but I hope to one day. I have entered every contest I come across but haven't given up yet! I get my own personal concert every day to and from work in my car so that will have to do for now. Keep smiling and believing!!:)
kenny chesney, I love your voice very much!!! | Reviewer: shrimp | 4/17/12
I know maybe you have been popular for long, but I'm chinese, I usually listen to Chinese songs. Sorry, but it's real that this is the first time I listen to your song on google music.
When I first listen to your song "I go back", at the first several minutes, I realized this is so perfect voice.
Love your voice so so much!!!
Thank you for so perfect music :)
Waffle House, West Memphis years ago | Reviewer: Steve | 6/23/11
One night while on tour after playing in Memphis, Tn. I pulled my 18 wheeler into the Waffle House in W. Memphis starving for something decent to eat and it was late. There was an older tour bus there and the tables were all full. I sat a the counter and ordered my meal. A few minutes later a good looking young guy came in and sat right next to me. I had no idea who he was. He didn't tell me until after dinner. He ordered the same thing I did. He was pretty cool and easy to talk to. He told me he sang country music and I laughed at him and said it didn't look like it. He was wearing a hoody and he certainly didn't look country. I told him if he was going to be a star he would need to lose that belly he was starting to get. Then I looked at his long dark hair and the balding top of his head. I told him that he might as well shave it off as that was the easiest and cheapest solution. I still didn't know who I was talking to as I listened to rock at the time. I didn't really have a clue who he was until I got home and my parents were watching the Grand Ole Opry and George Strait introduced him. I was stunned. Been a fan ever since and Kenny is a true country boy. Very polite and just a cool dude. I would love to have dinner with him anytime and maybe a couple beers and go fishing or something. Kenny, you are an inspiration and very down to earth. It is a pleasure to have met you the one time and hopefully meet again. thanks, Steve Shively, Leamington, Ontario. Canada
I'm a BIG FAN | Reviewer: Anonymous | 12/15/10
hi kenny im a big fan and i have been for a while now and well my whole family are big fans and your my idel thanks for all your songs, some of them really have helped me through the ruff and the tuff times , thanks!!
What a great singer | Reviewer: Debby | 7/11/10
I found out about your music on a tv show and must say you just blew me away, right away the very next day i went in search for some cd's and dvd's not much luck in getting dvd's in Australia but got some cd's and I love them. Keep up the great work and know you make a load of differnece in many lives. I am very ill lady and the voice makes me smile and jsut get by through the day. Your true fan
i loooove u! | Reviewer: Brandi Andrews | 1/12/10
Dude u are my absolute hero i wish you would play in spokane, washington i would go even if your tickets were 200 bucks i love you so much when i heard u were gonna be on Opera i scremed! my friend taped it for me and i watch it almost every dAY its kinda sad but i have it memorized! love you so much!
i♥kenny | Reviewer: Cynthia White | 8/24/09
i am Kenny's number one fan i am 16 years old and i have loved Kenny since i was just a little girl i listen to him constantly he is all i listen to my favorite song by him is she thinks my tractor sexy i love you Kenny.
I would like to have you as a friend~ | Reviewer: Amanda | 3/20/09
Fist off Hi to ya all! Kenny your music has inspired me- through my thoughest trials in and outta the hospital; sents the age of seven half itslike everyone want to put me in bubble wrap and protect me from everything around - that day I was diagnosed with epilepsy and too this day of age twenty-two still do ; but howeevr I dont let it slow my life down - but most I wanna say thankyou kenny for you're inspiration in my life, I'll never forget what you did for me . But if you can get some friends together on starting May 9th through November that would be amazing - November is National Epilepsy Awareness Month; if you would like any more information please go too www.epilepsyfoundation.org - and again kenny thank you ever so much-
god bless you kenny -
Kenny had me from the moment I heard him sing! | Reviewer: Tina | 12/15/08
Kenny is a great singer but also has writen the best songs about life. I have been a fan since I first heard him in 1992! I went to his concert in 2003 in Walla Walla Washington Area. I so wanted to meet with him. I feel he is down to earth and just wanted to meet him and discuss what ever came to mind because I feel that Singers and Stars need the space and breaks that they do not get because of people crowding them and just talking about work. Who wants to talk about work all the time, they need a break and still need friends that are regular people not just stars! Kenny you had me from your first song and i think you would be a awesome friend.
You are awesome | Reviewer: wweandedgelover | 12/11/08
My favotite songs by you are You had me form Hello and You Save Me. every time i hear those they make me think of the one i'm crushing on.My friend says your her favorite country singer. You rock and keep on wriiting songs.
i LOVE kenny chesney | Reviewer: kayla | 9/13/08
i love kenny chesney's voice it sounds so perfect!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! when he had a concert at the lp feild i went and thats all i went there for just to listen to sing but i was at the very top which i couldnt here that good but it was awsome!! when i took pic's of kenny chesney and got them developed i hung them all over my room! I AM YOUR BIGGEST FAN!!! i will be at your concert next year and at the very next to the stage LOVE YA KENNY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! PS KAYLA
I never get sick of your songs no matter how many times I listen... | Reviewer: Anonymous | 8/28/08
You definitly have the brains, looks and talent to be who you are... I'm just surprised that you arn't taken and when you were they claimed you were gay, What is wrong with them? You don't need them when you have Fans like me and everyone else that loves you and adores you... Hope to see you someday. God Bless and be careful out on the road!
I would love to meet you | Reviewer: Elf | 7/10/08
I love your songs. Especially the serious ones and the ones that make you think of something you have been through in life. Your songs do dig up memories. Your songs do strike a cord in my heart. I have been to 3 concerts and enjoyed them all. I love your music.
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