Kenny Chesney took off most of 2017. No major tour, and just a handful of shows around the country. So Lon asked him what ‘s been doing all year? “I was out in California with some of my surfing buddies, and they were teaching me the unteachable, which is how to surf. I didn’t do very well. I get ‘happy feet,’ what that means is you move your feet too much, and you lose your balance.”
But of course music is always on his mind, and he told Lon, “In between shows, I was mixing 30 songs for a live record. To hear that audience, and hear how much they care, it made me so proud of my audience. That’s what made me want to do a live album. I didn’t realize that this was going to develop into a 30 song, 10 year scope.”
That record is Live In No Shoes Nation, and it’ll be released on October 27.
So with all the shows Kenny’s done in the last ten years, where was the album recorded? He told Lon, “We recorded everything, but we mainly used recordings from 11 places. I think there are ten cuts, one third of the record, from Foxboro, because it’s so full of energy. But I sang “Save It For a Rainy Day” with Old Dominion in Pittsburgh. There’s an album cut, “Coastal” from the Tampa Bay football stadium. We did 3 nights in Red Rocks and I did “You & Tequila” with Grace Potter there. Taylor Swift surprised me on my birthday in Nashville, we did “Big Star.” Eric Church is on the record with me doing “When I See This Bar.” We had a lot of great recordings, but that was from Foxboro. David Lee Murphy did Dust On The Bottle at the Flora-Bama. That song has become an anthem. I’m glad we recorded that day because we got that moment on the album.”
How did you pick the songs for the album? Is it like your concert setlist? “One thing that was important to me was that it not just be a greatest hits record. It’s still a fun record, still a rockin’ record, but there are moments you might not hear in our stadium shows. Like I’m doing ‘I’m Alive’ from Red Rocks, or ‘Old Blue Chair’ from Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City. We don’t do those songs every night, because I don’t want to slow it down. Some of those moments turned out really cool. It just couldn’t be a live record of big hits, because they’ve already got those. I want to take them to a specific place, and who they were with. If I was in Arrowhead Stadium, and I heard that song, and had a great time, I’d say ‘That’s Us.” That’s what made me want to put out this live album, is revisiting all those moments. I wanted to give them something they didn’t get every night.”
There’s also a visual aspect to Kenny’s new album: “There are a lot of photos in this album. I have someone documenting every show we do. It’s something I’m very proud of. We have so much video footage and still photography, so in the live record, there’s a lot of stuff in the packaging. I’m glad that we were able to get moments that people can look through. There are a lot of pages of pictures. You can see what a joy it is for them to be there. I see it every night in the meet & greet. They tell me their stories. It’s all because they care about these songs. That’s one of the reasons I’m glad we took the time to put this album together, because we get to re-experience a lot of these moments. It was a cool thing to listen to.”