Kenny Chesney knew the debut single, 'American Kids,' from his upcoming album was special, but even he is surprised at the warm reception the song has received.

The tune -- which was released to radio on Friday (June 20) at 6AM, and on iTunes at 7PM -- debuted at No. 27 on Billboard and No. 31 on iTunes, before soaring to the top spot on the iTunes Country Songs chart only two days later.

“I knew it was one of the freshest things in a long time when I heard it,” Chesney says. “And then I heard it on the radio, and I couldn’t believe how great it sounded! ‘American Kids’ sounded as freewheeling and free-spirited as the folks I’m singing about... and no matter how old you are, I promise, unless you were one of those kids who just didn’t like fun, you know just how alive this feels.”

'American Kids,' written by hit songwriters Rodney Clawson, Shane McAnally and Luke Laird, resonated with Chesney from his very first listen.

“When I heard it, I knew I was gonna cut it,” the 46-year-old notes. “It was unlike anything I’d ever heard -- and I listen to a lot of songs. The rhythms, the images, the way the melody moved… It just grabs you and holds on, but even more importantly, it feels really good.”

The Tennessee native says even though he knew 'American Kids' was special, he's surprised by the song's overwhelming reception.

“It’s crazy what’s going on with it,” he says. “People feel just like I do about this song. They love how it makes them feel, where it takes them in their life. You don’t need a big party to have fun, it’s right where you are and how you take it."

The song is the first single from Chesney's upcoming 16th studio album, which he has been working on for most of the year.

“I never want to repeat myself,” he explains. “When you’ve had the kind of songs I’ve been able to find, it gets harder every time. But I believe creativity is something you create -- with time, passion and talented friends! I hate not playing to the fans this summer, but the response to ‘American Kids’ tells me it was the right thing.”

While Chesney hasn't been on the road this year, he says he has been as busy as ever.

“It’s a lot harder to find those songs than you’d think,” he notes, “and writing takes time — to think, to live, to be.”

Download 'American Kids' here.

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