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Kenny Chesney

No Shoes, No Shirt, No Problem – 2002 (BNA)

Reviewed by Dan MacIntosh

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CDs by Kenny Chesney

"Young," the first single from Kenny Chesney's album, raises unrealistic expectations, since this recording contains nothing else as goose-pimply connecting as the 'relate-ability' produced by that youthful musical reflection. And since Chesney writes so few of his own songs, he's almost entirely dependant upon the pens of outside writers to capture his artistic persona in song. So while "Young" fits the Chesney's energetic personality well, he's no match for the hard questions raised by Springsteen's "One Step Up."

It also doesn't help when Chesney is left with clich+-ridden material like "Big Star," which is a bad rags-to-riches, "Star Is Born" rewrite. But when the material is above par, as with Bill Anderson's thoughtful "A Lot Of Things Different" or "The Good Stuff," Chesney is made to look like a million bucks. Chesney is an accurate vocalist at best, but he's not a particularly expressive communicator. This is why he's impotent at bringing out the subtle nuances of The Boss's heartbreaking "One Step Up," and why so many of these songs fade into the background.

Musically, Chesney's producers have comfortably balanced traditional and modern elements, so as not to offend either camp most of the time. Still, the guitar theatrics of "Live Those Songs" are entirely uncalled for.

After adding it all up, this amounts to a few brief sparks, but no real lasting flame.