Find Station

Kenny Chesney On His Sports Connections Through Music

Kenny Chesney stopped by The Bobby Bones Show to talk about his new record, Born, and opened up about some of the sports connections he’s made through his music and more!  

Chesney shared that his mentor is his manager. He found him when he was young and helped him get his break in the music industry and is still someone he calls today for help. Chesney shared that having mentors in your life is important because it’s hard to learn life lessons on your own, but if you learn through the lessons of someone else, it makes it easier. Chesney always looked up to artists who wrote their own songs and then went out to perform them like Bruce Springsteen and Jimmy Buffett. Once he started writing his own songs, he discovered the genius of his heroes, and it opened a whole new world for him because he saw how hard it was. When Chesney moved to Nashville, he was so in love with the idea of creating and giving the world something that didn’t exist yet, so he thought all he would be doing was songwriting and not touring. Chesney is known for his extremely passionate fan base. He has one of the most massive communities in country music. He shared that it’s been built over the years and it’s amazing to see the fan culture he’s created. 

His 20th record, Born, is a bit of a reborn moment for him. New music brings new energy and when he first heard the title track, it was a reminder to him that even though we’re all different, to our core we’re all the same. We all dream, we all want to be loved, and there’s a lot in the song that asks what life, love and truth mean, or are we making it harder than it must be. Chesney shared he’s guilty of that because sometimes he does feel like he’s making it harder than it has to be so that’s why the song stuck out to him so much. It was a good message he wanted to say to his audience so he’s looking forward to playing it on tour this summer. It took three years to create this record and one of the reasons was because he didn’t want to repeat himself. “Guilty Pleasure,” was the last song he did for the record. He felt like the song was a dive into human behavior and it lets each person off the hook and let whatever the relationship is just be without too much pressure. HARDY is one the writers on Chesney’s current single “Take Her Home.” They had never hung out before, but he got an email from him about the song and how he thought it was perfect for him. Chesney listened to it and agreed, and he loves how smart his songwriting is.  

He’ll go on his Sun Goes Down 2024 Tour with Zac Brown Band, Megan Moroney and Uncle Kracker this summer. He and Uncle Kracker have been friends since they worked together in 2004 on “When the Sun Goes Down.” He loves the energy he brings to the road and is thrilled that Zac Brown Band agreed to do the shows again this year. He’s only met Moroney once but thinks she is a true songwriter to her core and loves the fanbase she is building for herself. Chesney has performed in stadiums forever, but it took him a couple of years to figure out what it took out of him emotionally and physically. By the third year he had it figured out and that’s when he started going to the top of stadium on Friday nights after soundcheck to visually and emotionally measure how long he had to go and give him that perspective which helped him a lot.  

He’s been playing in football stadiums since 2005, so over the years, he’s gotten to meet a lot of coaches and athletes, and some have come on stage too. He shared he has more friends in the sports world than the music world. When ESPN asked him to put together a video for his song “The Boys of Fall,” they paid him to talk to all his heroes. Suddenly, he found himself hanging out with John Madden in his living room and Brett Farve and Nick Saben and so many other people that he looked up, and when they were done recording, they would have dinner at their house. After that, so many sports people started coming to his shows. One thing he’s really learned is that sport people really want to be music people, and music people would give anything to be a sports person, so there is mutual respect.  

One of the coolest coaches to join him on stage is Andy Reid. He recalled when he was the coach of the Philadelphia Eagles and he brought out an Eagles helmet and started doing the chant and Chesney put it on and then put his cowboy hat on Reid, and the place went crazy. Another memory he shared was when he played Lambeau Field and the head coach at the time, Mike McCarthy, came out with the Super Bowl trophy. He said he had never felt a place erupt like that before.  

Over the years, Chesney got tired of performing his songs “Big Star” and “The Good Stuff.” He hadn’t performed them in 10 years but reintroduced them back into the set list last year and found a new energy came with them. For his summer tour, he’s currently putting together a set list and is trying to figure out what the fans want to hear while also making it sound new and fresh.  

Chesney’s Sun Goes Down 2024 Tour kicks off on April 20th in Tampa, Florida and his new album, Born, is out now!