With “Pirate Flag” beaming out at the stroke of midnight, Kenny Chesney figured the time was right to release the title of his much anticipated April 30 Blue Chair/Columbia release. Life On A Rock, co-produced with longtime collaborator Buddy Cannon, captures the thematic core of the 10 song set that’s been recorded and mixed in Los Angeles, Hawaii, Jamaica, Key West, London and Nashville, Tennessee.
“It all depends on what kind of rock you’re looking at,” Chesney says of the title. “Just living here on this planet, we’re all living life on a rock; but for me, and for this record, it’s about the way life is when you live on an island. Everywhere you go, there’s everyone you know; you know everything about them, and they know everything about you… and well, that’s just a whole other way to be.
“And coming from Luttrell, Tennessee, I can tell you, ‘life on a rock’ isn’t all that different from life in a real small town. It’s slower, it’s easier, it’s more invested and it’s also more about really enjoying the moments as they are, when they are.”
While the driving “Pirate Flag,” an anthem of rebelling against the day-in, day-out, has already been singled out by USA Today as their Song of the Week atop their Grammy-based Listen Up! column, Life On A Rock is a varied platter of music, ranging from introspective ballads to staccato shuffles, a duet with Willie Nelson and a bit of reggae. It also celebrates a way of life most people live without ever realizing.
“At the end of the day, what defines life for most people, certainly for me, are the people you share it with,” Chesney explains. “When you live in close proximity, you share the highs and lows of every day life and become close in ways you can’t even explain. Years go by… People move on… But that time, those friends remain with you no matter where you go. That’s where the treasures of being alive are found.
“When I first went to the islands, I met a lot of people who were making a life beyond anything any of them knew… They were boatmen, bartenders, waitresses, real estate folks. They were all loving life, living a dream and coloring outside the lines with this real sense of freedom; they took a country singer from East Tennessee into their tribe at a time when having friends outside everything I knew was important. Time passes, life moves on, but those friends lasted, and this album in a lot of ways is about the power of that kind of friendship to endure.”
Endurance is something Chesney understands. Kicking off his No Shoes Nation Tour March 16 at Tampa’s Raymond James Stadium, the 8-time Entertainer of the Year will bring summer alive for fans across 46 concerts at a mix of football stadiums, arenas and amphitheaters. Life On A Rock, indeed.