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Kenny Chesney Misses His ‘Iron Lung’

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Kenny Chesney celebrated his birthday last week, a few days after a huge bash for his three-week No. 1, ‘Somewhere With You.’ While you’d think this mother would find it challenging to find suitable presents for the man who has almost everything, the superstar’s tastes are pretty simple.

“I give Mom a break,” Kenny tells Minneapolis’ KEEY radio station. “She says, ‘What do I get you for Christmas? Anything you want, you go buy anyway! I miss it when I could get you anything and you would just love it!’”

The key, though, is to not over think it. “I did tell her one year for Christmas, ‘I’m really simple,’” Kenny continues. “I had a girlfriend one year who told me, ‘You’re so simple, you’re complicated.’ She’d say, ‘What do you want?’ And I’d say, ‘I don’t care, whatever you want to get me.’ And that’s how my mom is, so she hates trying to buy for me. I told her one time I want canned green beans, ’cause I can’t get them on the road. My grandmother and my mom do that all summer. And I can’t get those or have the time to do that on the road.”

Kenny is traveling in style on his new ‘Goin’ Coastal’ tour, riding in a state-of-the-art tour bus. No matter how posh his surroundings on the road get, Kenny will never forget his first ride, a bus he nicknamed the ‘Iron Lung.’

“This is a little nicer bus than I’ve had in the past,” Kenny says. “It’s a little cleaner. For my first eight years on the road I was in the same bus with the band and the crew. For the first two or three years, we had 14 people and 12 bunks! We would all take turns, swear to God, on who was gonna sleep on the couch, who was gonna sleep here. I didn’t want to say, ‘OK, this is my bunk; you guys are gonna have to deal with it,’ so I would actually sleep on the couch sometimes. I wanted them to know we were all together and that we were a team. It was an old black Prevost bus and I actually enjoyed sleeping on the couch, because in the bunks the diesel would come through the air vents. That’s why we called it the Iron Lung! That was the name of the bus.”

Though he spends a lot of time in the Caribbean when he’s not touring, Kenny has also found a new place in Nashville after losing his home to last year’s flood.

“I don’t have that place in Nashville anymore,” Kenny explains. “I’m living somewhere else there now, and if the place where I’m living now floods, we’re all in trouble, because I’m living really high up! That was a tough time. It’s been almost a year. I lived, literally, 10 feet from the edge of the river, so when it flooded: it flooded. I was gone when it happened. Believe it or not, with all this stuff that happened to my property, everything that I went through was only a fraction of what other people went through. And I lost a lot of stuff, but it was just stuff. I didn’t lose an arm and a leg, and there were a lot of people whose lives were altered by what happened. It was a tough time.”

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