Kenny Chesney’s Cosmic Hallelujah plays out like a fun call to be more emotionally invested in the now.
“I think the record does extend what we did on The Big Revival,” Chesney said in a recent radio interview. “Sonically I think it’s a smart record. I think it’s a fun record, and I think it’s going to give people the license to think. It’s going to give people the license to have fun, the license to escape, but more importantly the license to live in the moment. And that’s important. That was by design because that’s where I am in my life.”
The apocalyptic opener “Trip Around the Sun” and the hilarious “Bucket” give playful spins on the concept of time and making the most of it. Love lights up the night on La Cienega Boulevard in the hit P!nk collaboration “Setting the World on Fire” and again in a rocking RV in the David Lee Murphy original “Winnebago.”
The American heartland is celebrated in “Some Town Somewhere,” and “Bar at the End of the World” offers pure escapism. A fallen veteran is honored in the striking “Jesus and Elvis,” written by Matraca Berg, Hayes Carll and Allison Moorer.
In the groundbreaking “Rich and Miserable,” written by Jesse Frassure, Shane McAnally and Josh Osborne, Chesney takes his voice to new sonic highs.
Chesney only co-wrote two songs on the collection, “Noise” and “Coach,” the latter of which is an anthem for sports leaders that picks up where “The Boys of Fall” left off.
The CD insert for the collection only lists 11 songs, but there is a track 12 –- a bluegrass breakdown of the Foreigner hit “I Want to Know What Love Is.”
“New music brings a new energy and it brings a new connection, new stories,” Chesney said during a Sirius XM Town Hall interview on the No Shoes Nation Channel 57. “I’m really proud of Cosmic Hallelujah. It took a very unique journey to get to where it is now. We thought I had my record done and then we found all these great songs.”
“I’m very excited to share it with everyone,” he added. “There’s a lot of songs on this record that I cannot wait to take into the live element and turn the volume knob up a little bit.”
Chesney has mentioned in previous interviews that he will be scaling back his touring in 2017 to performances at major music festivals. There are three on the schedule for next year including a headlining set on April 9 at the Tortuga Music Festival in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida. He plans to stage a national tour in 2018.
Next week, he receives BMI’s President’s Award and the CMA’s Pinnacle Award, both of which honor unprecedented achievements in music. Previous President’s Award recipients include Brooks & Dunn, Adam Levine and Willie Nelson. He is the third Pinnacle Award recipient following Garth Brooks and Taylor Swift.
Cosmic Hallelujah is Chesney’s 17th studio album and “Setting the World on Fire” is his 29th No. 1.