Kenny Chesney Toasts ‘You and Tequila’ Writers’ Brilliance
Kenny Chesney instantly loved the now-Grammy-nominated smash ‘You and Tequila‘ the first time he heard the song while driving up California’s Pacific Coast Highway at sunset. But he felt there was one tiny thing missing from the Matraca Berg–Deana Carter penned tune to make it even more perfect — an echo voice to represent the song’s emotional kryptonite. So he enlisted the help of angelic-voiced Grace Potter to sing with him, and voila! A platinum-selling, chart-topping, CMA-award-winning hit was born.
“I could have recorded that song and put it out,” Kenny tells the Boot, “and I don’t feel like it would have been quite as special because I felt like the song needed the other person’s voice. I kind of wanted Grace’s vocal to be the haunting voice that was haunting me, the person that was haunting me in the song, and what the character was singing about in the song. Because I think we all have that person, or those things that we know are not good for us, but we can’t let ’em go. That’s why I think this song is so well-written.”
The song was recorded by both Matraca and Deana on their own albums before Kenny released it. He recalls how he first got the news that the tune had been nominated for a Grammy for Best Country Song and Best Country Performance by a Duo/Group. “I think Deana told me — she sent me a picture of herself with her cell phone with her mouth wide open! That’s how I found out!” [Laughs]
For Deana, the nomination is just the latest in a string of great things that have come from Kenny recording the song. “My publisher called me and said, ‘Go to your email, open the thing you’ve gotta see what’s going on.’ It was really cool!” Deana tells the Boot. “I’m out in L.A. so I’m behind on news, and it was amazing! To hear Kenny cut the song was the same feeling for me, honestly, that was the same kind of feeling as getting the Grammy nomination, because that was like a gift. It really was. It’s just been like dominoes of good stuff going on and I’m so excited!”
Win or lose at this Sunday night’s Grammy ceremony, Kenny says the song will always hold a special place in his heart, and in his setlist, too.
“I couldn’t be more proud to be nominated for the song I’m nominated for, I can tell you that. It’s just very simple but very beautifully written, very brilliantly written. It just goes to show you that a great song has a life of its own. Deana recorded it and Matraca recorded it, and now Grace Potter and I have a record with it, and it’s one of my favorite songs that I’ve ever recorded.”
The Grammy Awards air live from Los Angeles on Sunday (Feb. 12) at 8:00 PM ET on CBS.