OFFSTAGE: Kenny Chesney Starts My Top 10 of 2010

(CMT Offstage keeps a 24/7 watch on everything that’s happening with country music artists behind the scenes and out of the spotlight.)

I’ve been reflecting on all the little country-music moments that made my 2010 so memorable and I’ve started compiling my own year-end Top 10 list — with my Kenny Chesney interview at No. 10. That may not sound like a stand-out moment, but it was, and I’ll tell you why. I’ve been writing about country music for about eight years and reviewed countless Chesney concerts and albums, but had never once interviewed him. Not for lack of trying. It just wasn’t at the top of his to-do list, I guess. But when I was writing a Chicago Tribune story in September about his “Boys of Fall” video, I finally got him on the phone. I figured since it was such a hard phone interview to book, maybe Chesney was press-shy and the interview I’d waited so long for would end up being all one-word answers and awkward silences. So I was thrilled that he turned out to be so friendly, funny, charming, chatty and passionate about the song. My allotted five minutes with him turned into more like 15 and the story turned into one of the best pieces I’ve ever written. I’ve still never met the guy. Maybe in 2011.