Kenny Chesney is on a roll.
The lead single off Just Who I Am: Poets and Pirates is "Never Wanted Nothin’ More" and it’s coming off a genuine five week run at number one on the Charts. His follow up "Don’t Blink" could be another career song. It’s already rocketing into heavy radio play.
The Tennessee native is about to release what I think is the best CD of his career and he’s firing on all cylinders. The project – free of gimmicks and marketing distractions (like bonus features and stunts) – should explode into stores Tuesday and give rappers 50 Cent and Kanye (both braggin’ on new releases out the same day) a run for the money.
Kenny kicks off a string of country superstar releases for the Fall that the record industry (in a nose dive due to an outdated business model) is desperate to cash in on. (OK, Full disclosure: I’m a die-hard Kenny Fan. ) I don’t know if it’s possible for him to even top his own sales numbers with the current state of the biz; but it might be satisfying to see him trounce the rap world in sales and gain some deserved respect for country music.
Whatever the sales show next week - one thing’s for sure: Kenny has taken a smart step towards locking in a few more years of industry and radio dominance by checking his ego at the door (he has written NONE of the songs on this project) and serving his fans with quality country SONGS.
By the time you read this you may be tired of "Never Wanted Nothin’ " and the follow up "Don’t Blink." My bet is BOTH will be around a while. Classics with a good shelf life for radio.
I was surprised when I cracked the jewel case and saw track three – a duet with George Strait – that will please mainstream fans called "Shift Work." "It’s funny ’cause everybody’s been there and everybody wants to get out of there" says Chesney. A guaranteed hit if they negotiated the singles rights from George’s camp.
Other surprises include "Wild Ride" featuring Joe Walsh who has been touring with Chesney lately. It’s a mix of "Livin in Fast Forward" and "Summertime" that get’s some extra country street cred because it’s written by Dwight Yoakam.
"Just not Today," "Scare Me," and "Wife and Kids" are other well written gems that may work on the radio or simply end up as favorite album cuts.
Just Who I Am: Poets and Pirates goes on sale everywhere September 11th.
My Grade: A
Don’t Miss: "Don’t Blink"- Think "There Goes My Life" but better.
Weakest: "Dancin’ For Groceries" - this is the weakest on the album – and it’s still pretty good.