Country music superstar Kenny Chesney is known for creating feel-good summer songs about life being good. But what happens when it isn’t? In light of the destruction caused by Hurricane Irma, the Tennessee native’s latest album, Songs for the Saints, was inspired by strength and hope needed in those difficult times.
“Those islands have meant a lot to me as an adult — they fed my creativity in ways that nothing else has,” Chesney shared on Good Morning America about the U.S. Virgin Islands where his home and bar were torn apart by the hurricane. “It would have been really easy to make a record about the devastation, but I felt it was more important — that we find a thread of hope and find a way to move forward.”
As a result of the natural disaster, the country music star lost many personal items, however, one of the items to make it out was a gift from a fan years ago. It was a shotski, or a ski-shaped piece of wood with a shot glass attached on it, with the words “No Shoe Nation” on it.
“It was one of a few things that made it through Hurricane Irma, believe it or not, and I just felt like it described the bond, how strong our bond was — between me and the audience,” the artist explained. “I decided when it made it through that I was going to bring that shotski back and give it back to the person that gave it to me and that’s what we did.”
The first time he laid eyes on the shotski was in the parking lot of Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City during his ‘KC in KC’ show.
“I wanted to put it into my bar in the islands and I did a trade with them,” he added. “I signed a guitar and they gave it to me. I brought it on stage and that night I showed it to the audience at Arrowhead Stadium and my photographer captured that moment so it ended up being the cover of the live record.”
This small gift became the inspiration for Kenny’s album all about hope.
“If there’s one thing that I’m proud of with this new music is that it has a thread of hope and the thread of love and moving forward. And I think that there’s a big sense of community with it and it’s unlike any record I ever made,” Kenny expressed.
“Usually when you make a record you make it about past experiences. I made this whole record while everything was happening, almost a year ago now,” the “Get Along” singer shared. “There was no hiding my emotions.”
Something Kenny has always firmly believed is that music is one of the biggest healers that people have and wants everyone who listens to his new tracks to find that same healing.
“I went to church listening to music and that’s where I first realized the connection and the spirituality of it all,” said Kenny. “Hopefully when people listen to this music they get as much healing out of it in any way that they need it. I hope they get as much healing out of it as I did making it.”
Watch Kenny get candid about Hurricane Irma and his new album, Songs for the Saints, below!
The singer-songwriter’s latest has certainly struck a chord with his fans. This week, Songs for the Saints earned a #1 sales debut as well as the honor if being the #1 Country Album in the United States. In addition, the record debuted at #2 on Billboard’s Top 200 behind Drake’s Scorpion.
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