(EBM) Somewhere in the Saints - When Kenny Chesney has a summer off, it's a rare thing. And having broken 14 of his own records on the Here And Now 2022 Tour and playing to almost 1.3 million people, as well as taking the songs of No Shoes Nation to the places his headlining success began with his I Go Back 2023 Tour, the East Tennessee songwriter/superstar found himself in the unusual position of having time during the summer to do whatever he wanted.
For the wildly creative musician, there was really only one choice: camp! Given his love of the islands, why not throw the ultimate summer camp? Get people together who don't always have time to catch up, take the pressure off, hang out, have some fun, enjoy the moment. Oh, and bring the guitars, so if magic happens, you're there to catch it.
"Usually song camps are a couple days," the only country artist on Billboard's Top 10 Touring Acts of the Last 25 Years for the last 14 says of his reasoning. "They're thrown in the middle of so many other things going on, and you never truly settle into a groove or the fun of just hanging out. I've loved songwriters since I first got to town after graduating from ETSU, so who better to hang out with for a few weeks than some of your favorite writers?
"We had people coming in and leaving, some arriving part way through. But over these couple weeks, stories were told, laughter had, drinks consumed, bars overtaken - and yeah, I think a few great songs were written. We're still here, having more fun and remembering the reasons we all started chasing songs, even before writing them, than most of us have had in a long time."
For Chesney, who holds the record for most No. 1s on Billboard's Country Airplay chart, great songs are the most important piece of it all. Most recently topping the charts with "Knowing You," a waltz that celebrates people who are no longer with us, being adventurous and moving beyond the obvious, he pulled together a group that included Kat Higgins, Jessi Alexander, Nicolle Galyon, Casey Beathard, Tucker Beathard, Ernest, Summer Overstreet, Brett James, David Garcia and Will Bundy.
"Getting people not just out of their familiar routine, but creating a space where the rules fly out the window is always the best way to get songs that aren't like anything else. I understand people who do what's working for them, who find a lane that feels authentic. But to me, it's that song that's unlike anything else that I'm looking for or hoping to write. Whether it's 'American Kids' with the way it moved, that double breakdown in the chorus, 'Noise' and that sense of being overwhelmed by it all, or 'Knowing You,' which was such a simple, classic country song, those are the hardest things to find."
With summer almost over, Chesney will no doubt be closing up camp for the season. But before he does, who knows what else might be written?