OFFSTAGE: Kenny Chesney Saw a Star in Taylor Swift’s Eyes

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

There is this very long and meandering story in this week’s Billboard about legendary concert promoter Louis Messina, but I won’t get into all he’s done for all the artists he’s worked with. What I loved the most about the article was this one little story Messina tells about what happened when he asked Kenny Chesney to put Taylor Swift on his tour for a few dates in Texas. This was back in 2007. “[Chesney] brings me on the bus and says, ’You’ve got to check this out,'” Messina recalls. “And he’s got this picture of [Swift], and before he could get it out, I said ’The eyes.’ And Kenny says, ’Look at those eyes. That’s a star!'” (Swift couldn’t stay on that Chesney tour, because it was sponsored by a beer maker, and she was only 17 at the time. Now that she’s 21, though, maybe they could rethink that.) I remember reading about those shows in the Houston Chronicle, when the writer called Swift a “rodeo Barbie” and said she had “a long way to go before she’s able to headline her own shows” and also remarked, “Miranda Lambert has nothing to worry about.” Obviously, Chesney and Messina were the better prophets back then.

Alison makes her living loving country music. She's based in Chicago, but she's always leaving her heart in Nashville.