I’m going to just say it… I’m arriving late to the Kenny Chesney party.
Nothing against Kenny, but as a music listener, his early catalog of work has never quite been my cup of tea. I’m not saying there’s anything bad about it. He’s a very smart and successful artist and I have a lot of respect for that. I’m just saying that until recently, I never connected with him on a musical level.
For instance, my lack of tractor ownership has seriously damaged my ability to attract the demographic of women that melt at the sound of a John Deere engine firing up. "She Thinks My Tractor's Sexy" is a good song, but it doesn’t relate to me. (On a side note, if you drive a tractor and have ever used that as a theme song, you should send Kenny a thank you email, tweet or facebook shout… just a thought).
Lately however, I have noticed a pattern developing with Kenny Chesney’s music over his last few albums. He has been choosing some really interesting songs to record. I may have turned the corner with Kenny and it has led me to develop this theory:
Kenny Chesney’s iPod probably looks a lot like mine.
So I wanted to share some of the original versions of songs that Kenny has covered lately. It’s always cool to see where these songs started and how an artist takes them to a new place.
Up first, Kenny’s latest single, “El Cerrito Place”, written by Keith Gattis. Kenny had been a fan of the original Charlie Robison version, and said, “There is a certain longing in this song that in a lot of ways I really relate to. It’s about wanting something that’s obviously not there.” Check out Charlie’s original recording:
Kenny’s super-sized hit “You And Tequila” was written by Matraca Berg and Deana Carter (yes, “Strawberry Wine” Deana Carter). Here’s Matraca performing a live version of the song:
And one of my favorites has to be “Hemingway’s Whiskey”, a song by one of Kenny’s influences, Guy Clark. Kenny said, “I was sitting in my truck and a friend had given me Guy’s album, which had just come out. It’s a song that talks about living life to its fullest, being a man about your responsibilities and not compromising. As soon as I heard it, I knew I had to cut it…”
Here’s the legendary Guy Clark with a live version from the 2010 American Music Festival in Nashville: