Kenny Chesney has built a career on offering hope, passion and the straight-cut joy of being alive. “American Kids” celebrated the exuberance of being young, truly original and coloring outside the lines. “Get Along” not only captured the reality of how much sweeter life is by coming together to create a community, but inspired a PSA which amassed close to three billion viewings for PassItOn.org.
And now there’s “Here and Now,” two minutes and 51 seconds of pulsating attitude adjustment. With a thrumming guitar and a cymbal marking the beat, the song catalogues a series of life-defining places, set to a kick drum, before swooping down on a rollercoaster chorus that revels in the moment. To plug into the power of “Here and Now,” find it everywhere Feb. 21.
In classic Chesney fashion, the songwriter/superstar from East Tennessee weighs how we live against what we want: “Lotta people dreaming ‘bout one day, someday / Waiting just around the bend / I used to be one / Wondering when they’d come, but now I’m living in…” before tumbling into the song’s chorus.
“This song kind of blew my mind,” concedes the only country artist on Pollstar’s Top 10 Touring Artists of the Last 25 Years. “The chorus is everything I feel about my time on stage with No Shoes Nation…the rush of it absolutely being the best place, best moment in the entire world. There’s no rush like it.
“But what really got me was the way the song puts everybody on notice. It says everything about how we all put off living our lives because there’s so much other stuff to do. Only thing is, that’s exactly how you miss everything that matters! It’s not the big stuff that gets you laughing or breaks the bad momentum, it’s what’s right here if you’ll bother to dial in and really feel it.”
Ironically, the song emerged from Chesney’s own desire to reconnect with his writer friends. Not to machine songs for a project, but to tell stories, laugh about old times, drink some beers, soak up some sun and remember the way songwriters used to converge for the sake of the moment. The spark of the moment fired up Craig Wiseman, David Garcia and CMA Vocal Event co-winner David Lee Murphy one evening after returning to their house in Malibu. POOF! Magic.
“When I heard it, it was everything we’d been talking about,” Chesney says with a laugh. “The melody, the rhythm felt like what the song was made of. That line, ‘Everybody’s waiting, but they’re waiting on what? Better get to living, because all we’ve got is…here & now…’ That is the whole deal in two lines. Your life is now, get after it.”
For anyone who’s ready for spring training, warm weather or Chesney’s Chillaxification 2020 Tour to hit the road, here’s the song to get you there. But more importantly, on a cold morning, it’ll get your engine running, your heart in alignment and your day on with a brisk surge of electric guitars, a rush of high hat, kick drums and the chorus’ reminder, “You and me, ain’t it good to be alive / Ain’t no better place, ain’t no better time / Than here and now.”
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