NASHVILLE, Tenn. – After breaking records — often his own — in Pittsburgh, Green Bay, Boston, Minneapolis, Kansas City, East Rutherford, N.J., Philadelphia and bringing 55,000 to the Rose Bowl as their first country show, Kenny Chesney woke up to five CMA nominations for Entertainer of the Year, Album of the Year for The Big Revival, Single and Song of the Year for “American Kids” and Vocal Event for “Wild Child” with Grace Potter.
“I’m just starting to get the sound of diesel engines out of my ears, and now there’s a whole other kinda roaring in my head,” Chesney said with a laugh when reached with the news, “It seems like we just wrapped two incredible nights in Boston, and now this kinda news? It makes me feel like these songs, this music and the No Shoes Nation are just getting started.”
For Chesney, who took a year off to focus on making The Big Revival, there are an additional two nominations for co-producing on the Album and Single of the Year nominations. “I want to believe music matters… and finding songs that really hook into people’s lives and lift them up, but move what the music’s doing forward takes time. It’s easy to just do what works, but I wanted to dig in and take what was on The Big Revival to new places.”
With three consecutive No. 1’s – “American Kids,” “Til It’s Gone” and “Wild Child” – and “Save It For A Rainy Day” hitting the Top 5, Chesney has tapped into an even deeper vein of how people in the flyover states live. Beyond his always life-affirming take on music, “Wild Child” also celebrated women in a way that looked at their spirit over their obvious physical appeal.
“I believe people respond to songs that capture their lives,” Chesney says, “and when I got back out on the road after a year off, I really wanted to put everything we had on the stage. I brought that same intensity I gave to the record to our shows… and in some ways, it was the leanest production we’ve ever had, but I think it was absolutely the most of us we’ve ever put across the footlights. Those fans rocked us so hard from the first shows in Nashville across America and Canada and all the way through to East Rutherford, Detroit and Boston.
“When music can create that kind of passion,” continues the 4-time CMA Entertainer and Album of the Year winner for When The Sun Goes Down, “that’s when you know you’re doing it right. When you can get that back, you can feel how much people are feeling those songs, that’s when I feel like I’m doing what me and my road family set out to do.”
The man The Dallas Morning News called “two parts Mick Jagger, one part Bruce Springsteen and one part Billy Graham” has spent an entire year immersed in the fans and the music. In Boston alone, he played to 120,206 fans over two nights with The Boston Globe’s headline decreeing “Crowd belongs to Chesney at Gillette.”
The only country artist in Billboard’s Top 10 Touring Acts of the Past 25 Years, Chesney’s nominations cap a time of intense commitment to his music and his touring life. With the No Shoes Nation rallying for another incredible summer – as well as last fall’s FloraBama Jama on the beach on the Florida/Alabama state lines – there is no tempering the intensity or fervor of the man The Wall Street Journal deemed “The King of the Road.”
When the envelopes are opened Nov. 4 at Nashville’s Bridgestone Arena – broadcast live on ABC – in many ways, Chesney will already be a winner. As he says, “Just look at the year: the places, the faces, the songs and what came out of the radio. Man, that’s everything!”