Black Music Matters Festival

Kenny Chesney

Just Who I Am: Poets and Pirates – 2007 (BNA)

Reviewed by Jeffrey B. Remz

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The hit machine continues for superstar Kenny Chesney. Prior to its release, Chesney already enjoy a big hit with the catchy lead off "Never Wanted Nothing More."

The most interesting track is the island-flavored "Shiftwork," a duet with George Strait by Troy Jones where they sing of punching the clock at work, waiting for time off.

The closing "Demons" hews closest to country on the set produced by Buddy Cannon and Chesney. Penned by Bill Anderson and Jon Randall, Chesney displays a great knack for picking songs on which he sounds believable. You'd think Chesney has it all, but life isn't always great, he tells us - "When I'm not chasing demons, the demon's chasing me."

The remaining 9 songs are meat and potatoes Chesney. He gets introspective, has a few revved up numbers, a little tropical ("Got a Little Crazy" about drinking too much at a bar and not quite remembering what happened by the next morning), but doesn't stray too far from the middle of the road, certainly on the pop side of country.

Chesney proves refreshing in looking inward. "Don't Blink" cautions against rushing life too much. "Wife and Kids" by Jim Collins and Brett James looks to the day of settling down and having both, something Chesney says he wants in the liner notes. "Dancing for the Groceries," by James and Don Schlitz, is about a hard working single mom who needs to pay for braces, and put the food on the table by dancing. Hard work does pay off, but endorsing the exploitation of women?

"Wild Ride," featuring guitar of Joe Walsh and a filtered vocal refrain of the title, is way over the top, in going for the Big Sound.

While blazing few new trails, Chesney also doesn't do anything to diminish his star power either.