When Kenny Chesney announced last fall that he was taking a break from his longtime tradition of a big summer tour, many fans figured that he’d take somewhat of an extended vacation. That thought proved to be way off as Kenny seems to have been busy as ever in the last few months. There was his Kenny Chesney: Summer In 3D film, scattered festival tour dates over the summer, his “Boys of Fall” documentary, and of course working on his new album, Hemingway’s Whiskey. For those closest to Kenny, it came as little surprise that ‘taking a break’ didn’t mean that he was slowing down.
“Knowing him the way I do, I didn’t really see him taking a yearlong rest,” Chesney’s longtime producer Buddy Cannon said. “He ended up working more than he would’ve worked had he been out on tour.”
While on a grueling summer tour, Chesney would typically spend Thursday – Sunday on the road, return home after Sunday’s show, then spend the next couple of days in the studio working on new music before hitting the road again the next weekend. This schedule was exactly what Kenny didn’t want while working on Hemingway’s Whiskey. “I didn’t want to do that again,” Chesney said. “Hopefully when people listen to Hemingway’s Whiskey, they can feel it’s pretty fresh sounding. It’s not tired sounding. It’s pretty energetic. It’s a little edgy.”
Cannon recalls there was a point after the end of the 2009 tour that he thought Hemingway’s Whiskey was complete. Kenny had a different idea; he wasn’t happy with some of the songs and scrapped about half of the album before putting the word out on Music Row that he was looking for new material. “Having more time and having the whole town pitch us every new song they got for eight or nine months couldn’t do anything but help raise the bar,” Cannon said. “It’s a much more varied album, I guess, from the last few studio records we’ve had. The songs are a little different.”
Looking ahead to 2011, Kenny is already well underway with the planning of his summer tour. “I can already tell next year’s going to be a lot of fun,” Chesney said.
Though he may not have slowed down much, it seems like ‘a break’ may have been the best thing for Chesney, his music, and his career.
Hemingway’s Whiskey is in stores today.