Kenny Chesney is used to seeing his name among the nominees for the prestigious CMA Entertainer of the Year honor. He's been nominated eight years in a row -- winning four of those times. But that streak came to an end this year, much to the surprise of fans ... but no surprise to Kenny himself. "I knew taking a year off that there was the possibility of not being nominated for things we're used to being nominated for," Kenny told Nashville's Tennessean newspaper. "I didn't think I deserved to be [nominated]. I didn't tour, and that's been the thing that made me believe someone deserved it most: touring."

Kenny did, however, manage to score three Top 10 country hits during his one-year break from the stage. And he's not completely left out of the CMAs this year, scoring a nod for Musical Event of the Year for his 'I'm Alive' collaboration with Dave Matthews.

During his hiatus from touring, Kenny was able to focus on creating new music for his first studio album in nearly three years. In fact, the country superstar will debut five new songs from his forthcoming album 'Hemingway's Whiskey' (out September 28) on 'CMT Invitation Only: Kenny Chesney.' The concert special premieres September 27 at 10:00 PM ET. Kenny told the 'Invitation Only' crowd to expect to hear a "creative shift" when they listen to his new CD, but added, "We're still going to make people think a little bit. We're going to make them fall in love ... and maybe let them fall out of love, if they want to. I'm proud of it."

Kenny told the audience he named the new album 'Hemingway's Whiskey' after his favorite book 'The Old Man and the Sea' by Ernest Hemingway. "The characters in that book, the old man and the little kid with him, reminds me a lot of the relationship of me and my grandfather," Kenny said. "I was very close to my grandfather."

Kenny also told a humorous story during the live television taping. The Tennessee native has received his fair share of strange requests from fans throughout his 17-year career, but he told the intimate crowd about one, in particular, that's forever etched in his memory.

"Back when they were calling me either Mark Chesney or Kenny Chesnutt ... just to get anyone to come, [laughs] I was at a meet-and-greet saying hello to people and this lady asked me to sign her tattoo. She pulled down her pants and her whole butt was a tattoo of the state of Texas! [laughs] I'll never forget that! I said, 'Don't show me where Austin is!' [laughs]"

Watch a sneak preview of Kenny's 'CMT Invitation Only' performance of 'Coastal' below.