Chesney has begun to slow the pace of his hectic touring and recording schedule, taking an entire year away from the road to focus on his 15th studio record, and now fans are about to hear the payoff.
At Chesney’s August beach concert at the Flora-Bama, a bar and restaurant near Pensacola, Florida, he stepped away from the 40,000 fans who showed up to his only show of 2014 to speak with CMT Hot 20 Countdown ’s Katie Cook about taking the year off.
“Being able to make a record like The Big Revival with time and being able to be still, for just a little bit, was so good for me,” Chesney said. “I mean, it really was. Just the songwriting process and the creative process, I hope that the fans, when they hear this record, can hear what that was like.
“I felt that it was important for me not to repeat myself. I felt that it was also important to push my audience and to grab them by the hand and bring them along with me when I saw us going, and that took time.”
“I was thinking, the last time you took a break from touring to make a record, you gave us Hemingway’s Whiskey, which of course had ’You and Tequila’ and was a huge record for you,” Cook said. “Do you think The Big Revival has that kind of potential?”
“Wow, I hope so!” Chesney laughed. “I’ll take a Hemingway’s Whiskey album any time I can get it.”
That album found Chesney teaming up with rock singer Grace Potter for “You and Tequila,” and the two reunite for a new song on The Big Revival. But where Hemingway’s Whiskey was geared toward private listening, The Big Revival is all about the concert atmosphere.
“This album is totally, 100 percent, made for the live element,” Chesney said. “A great show can be a lot like a very spiritual, religious experience. It’s almost like an out-of-body experience for us up there sometimes, and it’s beautiful to see. That’s what I miss, and the reason we titled it The Big Revival is because I’m anticipating that moment.”
Tune in to CMT Hot 20 Countdown Saturday and Sunday (Sept. 27-28) at 11 a.m. ET/PT.