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Kenny Chesney - The Road And The Radio
By: Cheryl Harvey Hill, Sr. Staff Journalist
Photographer: Melanie Dunea

All you have to do to understand why Kenny Chesney was the Country Music Association Entertainer  of the Year, and is the reigning Academy of Country Music Entertainer of the Year, is toss this CD in your player. Give a good listen; life has tossed him about this past year and what you hear on this album is a more thoughtful, insightful, more mature Chesney. Uncle Kracker went back to the islands without him (at least for now) and, still smarting from the emotional bruises of the past several months, he isn't running off to a beach to recuperate. Instead, he is doing what any true blue country artist worth his salt would do, he's gathered up eleven songs that most closely reflect what he's feeling about life, and put them on a CD that's certain to have the fans, radio, the CMA and ACM adding on kudos for quite some time.

His bio says, "With The Road and The Radio, the singer/songwriter from Luttrell, Tennessee raises the stakes on both the intensity of his straight-up-the-middle power-country and deepening sense of introspection." Loosely translated, this means the cowboy was thrown from the bronc before the eight second mark. But, have no fear country music fans, this is where champions are made and number one hits are born. Speaking of number one hits, there are several potential chart toppers on The Road and the Radio; probably more on this album than any previous one. The title track sets the pace and reflects the mood of several of the more bittersweet ballads but there are plenty of boot-scooters to keep your spirits up.

In the "Cut by Cut", Chesney says he relates to "Living In Fast Forward," written by David Lee Murphy and Rivers Rutherford, "Funny thing about momentum: the more you get, the farther and faster it takes you and the harder it gets to slow down and take a moment to really reflect on whatís just happened." Right on the heels of that astute observation comes the very thought provoking, "Who You'd Be Today."

The only cut on this album written solely by Chesney is "Beer in Mexico." The up-tempo, drum driven, instrumentals totally contradict the depth of the lyrics. Misery and indecision have never sounded so palatable before and "Freedom" is another cut where the tempo belies the message. I guess the same could be said of "Tequila Loves Me." Chesney says he recorded this song quite some time ago and he is happy to have finally found a place for it; me too, I loved this track.

It was really a challenge to try to pick a favorite track on this album but if I had to pick one, I think it might be "You Save Me." The vocals and the instrumentals on this track have an interesting rhythm and they are beyond splendid. Chesney says, about this song, "I donít know anyone who doesnít need this person - whether they know it or not. Funny too, most of us have them whether we recognize them or not. Iím surrounded by these kinds of people, whether I wanted them to save me or not." Whew, talk about introspection.

Chesney says that the final cut on the album, "Like Me," is his favorite song on the album because, "Through all my years of touring and even all my years of dreaming, Iíve met many characters just like the ones painted in this song. Weíre talking about people who were not afraid to dream and dream big. These are people who take life as it comes and still live it to the fullest, no matter where they are or what theyíre doing. And whether they make it or not, give that dream everything and donít look back."

*"Here's to faces I have seen / A carnival of those who dream / Dreaming big and living free like me."

Despite the fact that he states in the liner notes that he hopes the fans like his "new music," I think the bulk of his fans are going to hear the same thing I hear on this album. This isn't really new music, this is the kind of music that made us fans of Kenny Chesney in the first place and sent "When the Sun Goes Down", "No Shoes, No Shirt, No Problems" and "Greatest Hits" beyond quadruple platinum.

Chesney poetically sums it all up on the liner notes when he says about "The Road and the Radio," which he co-wrote with Casey Beathard, "No matter what has gone on in my life, there have been two constant things over the past twelve years and that's been the road and the radio. No matter what it was one of them had the answer, whether it was a long stretch of highway or a great song. And as crazy as my life's gotten, this is the one place where it's still the same ... the broken lines and the truth I find in songs."

I think for all of us, at one time or another, it comes down to The Road and The Radio; for me, more often than not, it's just the radio and great songs like these.

*Lyrics from "Like Me".

Buy The CD Now!

The Road And The Radio song list:

1. The Road And The Radio 
2. Living In Fast Forward 
3. Who You'd Be Today 
4. You Save Me 
5. Summertime 
6. In A Small Town
7. Beer In Mexico 
8. Freedom 
9. Tequila Loves Me 
10. Somebody Take Me Home 
11. Like Me

Related Links:
www.kennychesney.com - Official Website
Kenny Chesney - Be As You Are  - CSO Review
Kenny Chesney - When The Sun Goes Down
- CSO Review
Kenny Chesney - All I Want For Christmas Is A Real Good Tan - CSO Review

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