On Friday, May 1, Kenny Chesney officially released his latest album, Here and Now, a collection of seaworthy songs that find Chesney reflecting on love, life, live music and more. "I can't tell you how many times I've heard a song and thought 'that's me,'" the singer wrote on Instagram just after the album became available.
"Through the years, I started to realize how important music is in all of our lives," he explained. "It's a life raft, a coach cheering for you, a shoulder to cry on, a reason to take stock. When I’m listening to songs in the studio, actually putting a record together, I’m thinking about that. I’m thinking about Vibe Room conversations, people I meet moving around, the stories I’m told... the reasons people connect with the songs. [No Shoes Nation], there's a lot of life in this record. A lot of my life and a lot of yours. I hope you hear it and think 'that's me.'"
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In a video message, Chesney added that he hopes fans can hear their own stories while listening to Here and Now. "It's an exciting time because there's new music coming and I've worked really hard on it," he said. "I'm very excited for you guys to hear every note of it. There is a lot of really honest, raw energy on this record that I think really does define our relationship out there on the road. There is a lot of living. A lot of my life in it and I hope that you guys can see a lot of your life somewhere in this collection of songs."
Chesney told the Tennessean that Here and Now was around two-thirds of the way complete when he decided to fly a group of songwriter friends to California for a week of "just making stuff up." That week produced the song's title track as well as "We Do," an anthemic ode to No Shoes Nation celebrating the joy of live music. Chesney is currently planning to support the album with his Chillaxificaion Tour, which had a planned April start but is now scheduled to begin on May 30, though it remains to be seen whether the trek will be pushed back even further due to the coronavirus.
"The one place I've found where I truly live in that moment is when I'm on stage," he said, adding the the feeling inspired the album's title. "I don't know, it may be a little sad to say that, but I can tell you, that's where I truly feel like I'm living in the moment."
Listen to Here and Now here.