Chesney: Storm Inspired Album

Kenny Chesney’s new album Songs For The Saints came about in the weeks following Hurricane Irma’s destruction of the Virgin Islands last year.  Kenny’s own home in the island was destroyed in the storm, and he described what he saw to Country Countdown USA’s Lon Helton: “My home was really destroyed. There was a lot of it that was there, but it was structurally unsound, so I had to tear it down. What you saw is no longer there. When I saw it, it stung. There was a lot of life that people have heard me sing about that happened there. So the first time I saw it was really tough. But not as tough as seeing what the rest of the island looked like.”

That experience went into the making of Kenny’s new album, Songs For The Saints. The album will be released on July 27th, and all proceeds will go to Kenny’s Love For Love City Foundation. Kenny told Lon, “This record and the music I was making was going to benefit, every single cent of it, was going to benefit these people and this place, and try to rebuild their infrastructure but also it was an opportunity to help rebuild the human spirit. That’s what I took into the studio to make this record.”

Kenny went on to describe the theme of the album: “It would be easy to say that these songs and this whole album is about the devastation and the destruction of it all. But’s really not, it’s not about what happened, but how people are overcoming it. There’s a thread of hope and love and community through it. It’s a very different record for me. “Get Along” was our first single, and I felt like it was a great message to get out first. But I made this whole record in an anxiety fit in the time after the storms. So it was an interesting way to create.”

Kenny told Lon he made the album in the weeks after Hurricane Irma destroyed his island home: “It was a really strange time, Lon. As I was making this record, there were 17 people who survived the storm in my house. There was a week or so when there was no cell service there. So there was a lot of anxiety with that.  I was in the studio writing these songs and creating this record with all of that in my heart. I was recording the song “Song For The Saints,” and that’s when I got the first text from my house.  They told me everybody was alive, everybody was OK, and that defined this record.  You could see the musicians knew this was going to be a different record for me, and everybody knew it was possible this music could help a lot of people.”

Kenny went on to tell Lon he recorded the entire album in three weeks, and then he went to Key West to mix it: “The most fun we had making the record was when we went down to Jimmy Buffett’s studio down in the Keys. We spent two weeks down there mixing the record, and it was a great authentic way to do it, because it’s right on the water, and I wanted that salty air to seep in the windows and be a part of the music. I’m glad we did it.”

Kenny also told Lon the story about the sailboat on the album’s cover: “Ten years ago, I financially helped build the boat that’s on the cover. The sailboat was built to help a lot of children in the islands learn how to sail. I was very proud of it, proud that we were giving kids something to be passionate about. In 2016, we were down there, and I had a photographer on my boat, and we went past that boat. It was anchored in the water, there were no other boats near it, and she took the picture of it, not knowing what would happen. It was so symbolic, such a story, and it had to be the cover of Songs For The Saints.  It was pretty beat up in the storm, and that’s why it’s on the cover, it’s a vision of how it used to be, the calm before the storm.”

Listen to Lon’s entire conversation with Kenny Chesney about Songs For The Saints:

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