“I knew when I came back, I wanted the record to be something special, something that took what I do in my special projects and weaved it into what I do for the mainstream,” Chesney says. “It takes a lot of energy and mental space to be on the road… and I kind of felt like – especially coming off of this second Greatest Hits – this next record should be something that set the stage for the next phase of my music, the same way No Shoes, No Shirt, No Problems opened up the music I’ve made for the past 8 years.”
“I came to town to write songs, to make records, to create something that spoke about how I lived, and the people who I knew who were just like me and my friends lived. I’d like to think we’ve captured that, just like I’d like to think that we’ve all come to realize that life is a little more complicated than maybe we thought. It’s still fun. It’s still intense. It’s still about friends and dreams and all kinds of things, but there’s something more, too.”
That something more is probably the best way to describe Hemingway’s Whiskey, which will arrive in record stores September 28th. The album – which builds on many of Chesney’s trademarks – pushes each thing further and in new directions, including the pensive Guy Clark title track.
“When I heard the song, I knew it was the perfect title for the record,” Chesney says. “I was sitting in my truck and a friend had given me Guy’s album, which had just come out – and it’s a song that talks about living life to its fullest, being a man about your responsiblities and not compromising. As soon as I heard it, I knew I had to cut it… and call the album that… because it says everything about the way you live your life, and what life can be if you refuse to buy into limits, which – as someone who’s read all his books – is everything Hemingway’s novels revolved around.”
While details are emerging slowly from the studio – beyond there will be guests, surprises and songs his audience can see their own lives in – Chesney has savored the time spent in the creative process. As he says, “There’s something about getting inside songs, finding the keys and working with these amazing Nashville musicians that inspire and remind me not just what a privilege making music is, but how important great songs can be in all of our lives.”