Nashville: Music comes, music goes, only the most empowering endures. For Kenny Chesney, that means the new year is starting not just with the platinum certification for his surging entreaty for the inevitable post-break-up hook-up “Come Over,” but platinum recognition for his Greatest Hits II and golden certifications for “The Good Stuff” and “No Shoes, No Shirt, No Problems” from his quadruple platinum No Shoes project.
“You hope when you record a song, it’s something the fans can live inside,” explains the four consecutive Academy of Country Music and four-time Country Music Association Entertainer of the Year, “I’ve always tried to pick songs that felt true to who I am, how I’ve lived… or the people around me, and I think that since where I come from isn’t so different from anywhere else, it’s a safe bet other people have lived this stuff, too.
“If people can see themselves in these songs… especially ones like ‘No Shoes, No Shirt, No Problems’ and ‘The Good Stuff’… then I can feel good about it not just being a moment, but a truth. As a songwriter, that’s what you’re reaching for, and as a fan, it’s everything about what the songs that have marked my life meant to me.”
Starting with October’s gold certification of Welcome To The Fishbowl and the CMA Vocal Event of the Year “Feel Like A Rock Star” with good friend Tim McGraw, Chesney’s watched Greatest Hits II and “Come Over” mine platinum, while the new year saw “The Good Stuff” and “No Shoes” both reach gold status. For a man who’s sold in excess of 30 million records, the notion that the music is still connecting is what really matters.
“I’ve always tried to speak for the people who don’t make the news, who don’t freak out or stand out,” Chesney says. “You know, there are a lot more people like us in the world, and I think that’s where life’s sweet spot really is. When I look at songs, I’m trying to figure what hasn’t been said, or needs to be said for people like us. Doing it like that, it’s never been ‘Is this a song for the ages?’ or ‘Is this a big ole hit?,’ but more, ‘Do I know somebody who’s been here?’ I think people can tell the difference. Maybe that’s why Greatest Hits II and ‘The Good Stuff’ are still selling.”
With a trip to the Houston Livestock Show & Rodeo on March 12 as warm-up, Chesney kicks off his No Shoes Nation Tour of stadiums, amphitheaters and arenas March 16 at Tampa’s Raymond James Stadium, home of the Buccaneers. And listen for “Pirate Flag,” Chesney’s pulsing anthem of real life insurrection, to hit radio Jan. 31.