Kenny Chesney Finds Strength and Balance in ‘Whiskey’
There are many reasons Kenny Chesney's latest album is titled 'Hemingway's Whiskey.' But the main reason the superstar entertainer released the album in 2010, he says, is that he could not have made the title track believable until now.
"I think that in the last four or five years I've constantly struggled with the balance in my life. There still is that struggle," Kenny tell NPR. "But I feel like a different artist. I feel like a different person. Things that made me happy five, six years ago don't make me happy anymore. I want to spend more time with my family. I need more balance in my life."
Kenny adds that he would love to be able to have a conversation with Ernest Hemingway because the celebrated author, who died at his own hand in 1961, "had such a wonderful, tragic, creative life. I would love to sit down and pick his brain a little bit about love and the loss of it, living with regret and depression."
The alcohol flows freely on another of the tracks from Kenny's latest. He notes that 'You and Tequila' is a "struggle song," adding that "there are some commonalities about getting someone out of your mind and drinking and trying to quit. I spent a lot of time [driving the Pacific Coast Highway]. I'd go to friends in Santa Monica about sunset. I would drive back up to the house, had the windows down. I'd listen to a lot of Eagles songs and some Tom Petty. When I heard this record and this song, it just put me in this place."
Kenny also revisits a notorious incident from his past, the horse-stealing escapade he and Tim McGraw were implicated in while in Buffalo, N.Y., in June 2000, during their tour with George Strait.
"That did happen," Kenny says. "I was accused of it, but we didn't really do that. I actually did get on a horse, but I didn't know it was a police horse. It didn't have anything on it saying it was a police horse. It was a big deal at the time, but it's funny to look back on it now. It wasn't funny at the time."
And while he's in a revelatory mood, Kenny is asked about the confessional 'Seven Days' from the latest album. "I think everybody in his life has that one person that they can't mentally get rid of," he says of the track. "Maybe we're with someone romantically and emotionally even for a short time. The character of this song, it was seven days of his life, a week. I think we all have those people and the time that we're with them, we have no idea the impact that they're going to have on our lives later on. And I have that person. I think that a lot of people do."
When he's asked to reveal the name of the person who represents that for him, however, Kenny says, "You can ask, but I'm not going to answer!"
Kenny's album, 'Hemingway's Whiskey' is available now.