Kenny Chesney made the decision to take the summer of 2014 off from his massive stadium tours to make sure he got the music for his 15th studio album right. With “American Kids” hitting country radio with 117 stations on add date – and landing at #20 on Billboard and #24 on Mediabase after just two days of airplay – and topping iTunes Country Chart since the digital release, the Luttrell, Tennessean has come to play. Hard.
“The whole point of taking the time to get to a really creative place was to have the room to look at not what we’d done, but where we wanted to go,” Chesney says. “After all this time, if I can’t push myself and give the fans something that inspires them, that gets them pumped up, there’s no reason to just make a record to make a record.”
That record – The Big Revival – arrives September 23. Produced by Chesney and Buddy Cannon, fresh from Willie Nelson’s #1 Band of Brothers, The Big Revival goes deep. With guest appearances from Alison Krauss, Dan Tyminski and Grace Potter, the 11 song album moves from the double-hooked, triple rhythmed “American Kids” to thumping rockers, a few personal ballads and even the amped up title track.
“I think in anyone’s life, there are times when you just need to shake things up, really push yourself and find the thrill of what you do again,” Chesney says. “I went to dirt floor church revivals with my grandma as a little kid, and that power is electric. Scared me to death, but it shows you what it means to be alive. I think bringing that sort of passion to how you live your life is everything – and it’s so easy to lose touch with.”
Working with a new team of mixers, the sound of the new project is both more aggressive where it should be and more expansive with the acoustic instruments. Having brought Grace Potter, Dave Matthews, Uncle Kracker and the Wailers to the top of the country charts, the 4-consecutive Academy of Country Music and 4-time Country Music Association Entertainer of the Year is once again pushing the boundaries of what country can be while also celebrating how people between the coasts get their living done.
“There’s so much more to country than trucks, creek beds and cut-offs,” Chesney laughs. “That stuff is fun, but when you look at how people really dig in and work, the things they face every day, you wanna remind’em how hardcore they really are, show’em that and also show’em that you know there’s more to’em than people might think.”