One thing hasn’t changed: Owen still respects everything Chesney’s doing.
“Kenny’s fans come to his shows because they love his music and they relate to the feel of it, but they also just come for the experience and to get some hang time with their friends,” Owen told me Friday. “His music makes you happy. You go, and then when you leave, you’re like, ‘God, that was fun.’ Kenny started that whole thing, and I’m happy to align myself with that.”
Then again, some things have changed. Owen has grown musically, his list of hits has deepened and he now has a much longer set than when he first took the Chesney stage as a rookie in 2006.
Back then, on Chesney’s Road and the Radio tour, Owen was the opener for the opener, Dierks Bentley. And at the time, he only had two singles, “Yee Haw” and “Startin’ With Me.”
“The first time I played for Kenny, I only had about 20 minutes. The second time, in 2012, I had a little more. Now I have a whole hour,” Owen explained of his progression. “And every song we play is a hit single.”
But for Owen, this invitation to join Chesney on the road again is about more than just a longer set list. It’s about friendship.
“I’m flattered that he asked for a third time,” Owen said. “But even outside the business of playing music, Kenny and I have a genuine friendship. Even if I wasn’t on tour with him, there have been times when I’ve called him to ask him for a piece of advice. Kenny has nothing to gain or loss by giving me advice, so he’s always honest with me. I admire that about him. So saying yes to this tour was the easiest decision I ever made.”