DIARY - 7 APRIL 2004 - KENNY CHESNEY
RISES ON CHESNEY CHART
had a dog named Bocephus living in the front yard/ he liked sleeping out
on top of the car/ he drank beer out of a mason jar." - Keg In
The Closet - Kenny Chesney.
no surprise expatriate Australasian guitar slinger Keith Urban maximises
high profile by touring with chart topping Tennessee troubadour Kenny
Chesney, 36, was the biggest grossing country act of 2003 and topped
Billboard rock and country charts with 500,000 plus sales in his first
week with eighth album, When The Sun Goes Down.
The singer from Luttrell - hometown of late Chet Atkins - borrows
from Jimmy Buffett's hedonism in his populist music.
It worked for Georgian superstar Alan Jackson when Buffett joined
him for their huge hit It's 5 0' Clock Somewhere.
cross genre marketing by duetting with Uncle Kracker on the Brett James
penned title track.
''He's one of the funniest people I've ever met," says Chesney of
Hell, if Billy Joe Shaver can join Hank Jr as a duet partner of Kid Rock,
Chesney retreated to the Caribbean to fuel his new disc.
"I headed down to the islands, to a boat I have in the Caribbean,"
"I was going to take a two-month vacation, and didn't want to hear
any music besides Bob Marley. When I got down there, I pulled out this
old guitar that I had in a closet, started playing it and all of a sudden
began one of the most creative times of my life.''
Chesney penned four tunes on the disc he co-produced with Buddy Cannon.
They include poignant Old Blue Chair, Being Drunk's A Lot Like Loving
You and I Go Back - a reflection on his musical rites of passage.
"I go back to a two toned short bed Chevy/ drivin my first love out
to the levee."
So why is Chesney the hottest country act of the year?
his nostalgia-primed music is aimed directly at radio backed with
And, like Garth Brooks, he has a degree in advertising and targets
''These kids aren't just into country,'' he says. ''I can play the
Violent Femmes or Hank Williams Jr.'s A Country Boy Can Survive
or one of my songs, and they'll sing along to all of it. That's how
I grew up listening to music, and a lot of my audience is listening
to music just like I did, and just like I do.''
That hedonism peaks in Keg In The Closet.
''In the song, it says, 'We didn't think it could ever end,' '' Chesney
recalled, ''when it did end. Wow, it was scary. Life's not a keg party.
Sometimes it looks like a keg party out here, but it's not.''
Not a keg
party but a genre long laced with booze - he has tour sponsorship from
Cruzan (pronounced ''cruisin''') - the rum of choice for tropical country
''It's not a sponsorship, it's a way of life,'' says Chesney, ''and I'm
getting paid for it.''
But life is not all rum, roses and vittles.
Chesney cut Michael Dulaney-Jason Sellers-Neil Thrasher penned Some
People Change - a new south reflection.
"His old man was a rebel yeller, bad boy to the bone/ he'd say 'can't
trust a coloured feller'/ he'd judge em by the tone of their skin/ he
was raised to think like his dad, narrow minded, full of hate/ on the
road that nowhere faced, till the grace of God got in the way/
then he saw the light and hit his knees and cried and said a prayer/ rose
up a brand new man and left the old one right there."
Not dramatic as Mark David Manders Klan parody Three Sheets To The
Wind but likely to be heard by millions more.
Chesney is likely to be known for songs such as Jose Leo's escapist Outta
Here - "south of the border there's a place I know/ where James
Taylor sang about Mexico."
/ back to diary