Kenny Chesney’s made numerous appearances on “The Tonight Show” over the years, but it’s always been as a singer. The formula changes a little April 15 when Kenny shows up to promote a film. He’ll visit with Jay Leno six days prior to the release of his concert film Kenny Chesney: Summer In 3D.
“It’s sorta strange to be going on ‘The Tonight Show’ with a movie coming out,” Kenny says. “It’s very different, the idea of showing clips and talking about the experience of making this film. But it’s something we’ re all — me, the band, Joe Thomas the director, all the guys who worked on it — are really proud of, and it’s definitely getting me out of my comfort zone.”
Kenny already has a unique relationship with “The Tonight Show.” The late-night format usually has actors and personalities chatting on the couch with Jay Leno with musicians typically relegated to an end-of-show performance and handshakes as the credits roll. But longtime country fans might remember that Kenny was interviewed even before he became a superstar, thanks to one rather odd incident.
Kenny was one of numerous acts on the bill in 2000 for George Strait’s stadium tour, and when the entourage reached Buffalo that June, Kenny went riding off on a policeman’s horse backstage. Kenny thought he’d been given permission to take the ride; the officer thought otherwise. In a weird turn of events, Tim McGraw got in a scuffle with at least one policeman, and both Kenny and Tim were arrested. Both singers were eventually acquitted for what was essentially a miscommunication, but the incident garnered national attention. Kenny actually helped his profile through his willingness to go on TV and take a bit of ribbing.
When he hits “The Tonight Show” this time, Kenny may be going to promote a film, but he’s still planning to do a little music. In contrast to Summer In 3D, which captures his stadium-sized 2009 tour, he’ll be playing with just an acoustic guitar.
“This will be maybe my most intimate performance ever on television, just like the movie is the most in-your-face, in-the-Goodyear Blimp, in-the-Sand Bar, on-the-stage, almost-under-my-hat we could make it,” Kenny says. “Consider the contrasts, and enjoy both phases.”
Kenny’s profile will be rather large in the coming weeks. In addition to the movie and the booking on “The Tonight Show,” he’s also set for an April 9 appearance on “The Oprah Winfrey Show.” And he’ll be in Las Vegas April 18 for the 45th annual Academy of Country Music Awards, where he’s nominated for three trophies, including Entertainer of the Year.