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Kenny Chesney - Be As You Are (Songs from an Old Blue Chair)
Album review by: Cheryl Harvey Hill

When Kenny Chesney reflects on life from "an old blue chair," it is akin to the most uplifting sermon you have ever heard shouted from a pulpit on a Sunday morning. This is an insightful philosophy delivered via soothing, mostly calming, music and a few strategically placed waves. The album does have its upbeat moments like on "Guitar and Tiki Bars," but even on this song, Chesney is still dispensing the same philosophy, only this time he conveys his homily via a brass section and some heavy emphasis on the drums. Since he wrote, or co-wrote, on all thirteen songs on this album, it is clear that the music, and albeit the viewpoint, comes from his heart.

At the beginning of "Somewhere in the Sun," if you listen closely, you will hear the ocean breaking on a beach (I definitely recognize that sound from my own memories of beaches in California and Hawaii.) The sound of waves breaking is used throughout the album; in fact, this is the last sound you hear if you let the album play all the way out. On most of the songs I found the waves added a germane ambiance to the music.

There are going to be those who question whether too much of a good thing is too much. I suppose you could be lulled to sleep by the fluid flow of nostalgia waves; even ones crashing on a beach somewhere. However, just as I was nodding off to a peaceful beach in my own memory, "Magic" slid in, unannounced, and headed me down a memory lane I had forsaken several years ago. All of a sudden I was paying attention again. This is one slick production. Chesney's voice sashays in, cradles your thoughts, and whisks you away to a real feel-good place where the mantra is provided by flexible piano keys, sensual saxophone and tantalizing tympani. Positively magical.

"Soul of a Sailor" is another one of my favorite songs on the album. It is the final cut before an encore of "Old Blue Chair (ocean mix)" and it definitely sums up the spirit of the whole album. I liked it. In fact, I liked the whole album. However, I love Glen Miller, Tommy Dorsey and Hawaiian music too. Herein may lay the problem for others.

I, honestly, don't see this as a country music album BUT I still enjoyed it. I think this album was a cathartic exercise for Chesney. I think he recorded this album because he needed to. Or maybe he just wanted to. When you have reached the level of success where he resides; well, you can be truer to yourself and I think that Be as you Are is who he is. Do you know any other country music artist who looks quite natural in a tank top, cut off shorts and a cowboy hat? Of course not. When Chesney sings in "Wouldn't take much for me to up and run -- To another life 'Somewhere in the Sun'," I'm convinced.

I think this album is an ode to Chesney's own heart and soul. Even if you think that puka shells and cowboy hats are an anomaly, do yourself a favor and escape for a while with him; you won't regret the trip.

www.kennychesney.com 

Rating: BUY IT!

Kenny Chesney - Be As You Are CD track list:

1. Old Blue Chair 
2. Be as You Are 
3. Guitars and Tiki Bars 
4. Island Boy 
5. Somewhere in the Sun 
6. Boston 
7. Something Sexy About the Rain
8. French Kissing Life
9. Key Lime Pie 
10. Sherry's Living in Paradise 
11. Magic 
12. Soul of a Sailor 
13. Old Blue Chair

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Real People Reviews

Yes, this CD was a little different for Kenny. I have and continue to listen to this CD from start to finish repeatedly. I love every song on this CD. (Did anyone notice any word changes in Old Blue Chair? He changed it a little on this CD verses the Somewhere in the Sun CD.) This is definitely a CD to take to the beach with you when you want to sit back, relax, and take in the sounds of the beach. Something Sexy About the Rain is probably my favorite song on this CD, with Soul of a Sailor coming in 2nd.
~ Stephanie - Southeast GA

What a fabulous cd. Relaxing for those of us who cant really live that life but long to be there and enjoying it! God bless the boys from Tennessee! Have caught 4 shows and party right there with ya Kenny! I am an island boy in spirit,
born and raised in the Midwest.
~ Donald

All my life I had thought the obligatory question, "If I were stranded on a desert island, what cd would I want to have most?", well with many answers in the past, now this one rings true the most. After hearing this recording, if I became stranded, I would be singing these songs while I attempt to survive. So I guess that also sets this cd as my favorite of the thousand or so I own. That's all I've got to say about that!
~ Pierce

I would like to talk about Kenny Chesney's new album "Be as you are". I was very disappointed in is album, I am a huge fan of his and I have loved every album he has completed, but this one, I just could not get in to the music, I was left feeling dry and lost in this album. Please do not get me wrong I loved Kenney before and I will continue to buy his music, this was just not my favorite album from him. 
~ Christi

I bought this CD 3 days ago and I've listened to it start to finish about 3 times. I agree, this is not your typical "Country" album, but who cares. This is great CD with great music and great tunes. Every time I listen to it I wish I were chillin on a beach somewhere, laid back, strumming a guitar. If you want to jam this is not for you, but if you want to relax to some great tunes it is definitely worth it. It's number one on my play list right now and will be for awhile. 
~ Nathan - Greenville, SC

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