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Kenny Chesney talks on the Boss, writing and sports

Monday, May 2, 2011 – By Dan MacIntosh

Kenny Chesney appeared informal and relaxed during his interview Thursday with GRAMMY Museum Executive Director Robert Sanetelli in Los Angeles. Although the Lakers weren't playing at the nearby Staples Center, there was still a sports-enthusiast-turned-musician in the house, there to talk about his music, his life and a little sports.

Chesney admitted at The Grammy Museum at L.A. Live, "I wanted to be a baseball player," from the outset. There, in front of a small crowd of fans and media, Sanetelli took us through some of the key events in Chesney's life. His first musical memories included the sound of mom singing, as well as singing in church. However, when Chesney heard The Eagles' vocal harmonies on Take It to the Limit, his ears perked up like they never had before. Surprisingly, Chesney didn't pick up the guitar until he was already a junior in college. Once he'd mastered a few chords and could play some favorite songs, he was hooked.

One of the key revelations that came out tonight was the relationship Chesney has with Bruce Springsteen. Chesney loves the Boss because he is "a sucker for the truth," and singer/songwriters oftentimes have a special knack for getting right to the truth. One time, Chesney shared with Springsteen how frustrating it can be to start a song and not finish it until long after starting it. Springsteen reminded Chesney that songs can wait, but you have to live your life right now.

Later, Chesney sounded just like a fan when he described how Springsteen once made a surprise visit to his band bus while he was on tour. He also shared a story about how Springsteen and band took a train - with all their gear - from New Jersey to New Orleans for just one show. Such dedication to the fans obviously impresses Chesney.

Although Chesney loves the creative process of being a songwriter, he told this gathering, "I gotta work hard at it." He also said that it's tough to write on the road; he needs to be in a place where he can solely focus on writing. One exception to the rule was the song I Go Back, which Chesney wrote while driving through Colorado.

This evening was promoted as an interview-only occasion, although Chesney still rewarded attendees with a little singing. With just an acoustic guitar, he performed You and Tequila, but admitted it sounds much better with Grace Potter singing on it. He also sang a little bit of Old Blue Chair.

When Chesney is performing on a regular concert stage, he sometimes comes off a little cocky. Maybe that's just the athlete in him. However, when simply talking, the man comes off much more humble and likable. Tonight, it was a treat to get to know the real Kenny Chesney a little bit better.

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Life on a Rock CD review - Life on a Rock
Despite the carefree, cruise-line posture of most Kenny Chesney records, there's always a nagging suspicion that his party-time vibe is about as predictable as a plastic pink flamingo on a Palm Beach patio. Yet Chesney's career-long theme of girls, guitars, beer and beaches (not always in that order) - and the occasional piece of farm machinery - has yet to wear thin. And with summer fast approaching, that's okay. Chesney's latest is something of a running journal of his »»»
Welcome to the Fishbowl CD review - Welcome to the Fishbowl
Kenny Chesney is synonymous with all things summer and good times. "Welcome to the Fishbowl" is a radical departure. If you're going to drink a beer and listen to this album, you may need a Prozac chaser. It is a bit short on fun as Chesney deals with terminal illnesses, loss of privacy and lost love. It leads off with the catchy Come Over, which is in the same vein as Lady A's Need You Now. On Sing 'Em My Good Friend, a man selling an old guitar full of memories »»»
Editorial: Walking the talk – When names like Hank Williams, Johnny Cash, Waylon and the Hag are invoked, you're talking hard core country. These are the touchstones of country , the guys who made country music what it was and still is (or maybe can be). When these folks would sing about being down-and-out and the rough-and-tumble, they knew of what they were singing about. Fast forward a few years to the country singers of today. »»»
Concert Review: Kristofferson gives insight, but no easy answers – When they say music gets better with age, they're not always just talking about songs alone; sometimes they're also referring to the listener. When Kris Kristofferson sings, "Well, I woke up Sunday morning/With no way to hold my head that didn't hurt," to smartly open "Sunday Mornin' Comin' Down," he... »»»
Concert Review: No sugarcoating, Welch dishes out an experience – Gillian Welch (accompanied, as always, by master guitarist David Rawlings), celebrated her "The Harrow & The Harvest" album with a powerful night of music. She apologized many times for the utter unhappiness expressed through this album's songs, admitting it's "not the most chipper album" at one point.... »»»
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