‘Tis the Season for Kenny Chesney’s “Jesus and Elvis”

Honors Those Who Are No Longer With Us

There’s a song on Kenny Chesney’s latest album Cosmic Hallelujah that he calls pure poetry. It’s “Jesus and Elvis,” written by Matraca Berg, Hayes Carll and Allison Moorer.

The ballad is more than an homage to a dive bar where velvet paintings of the King of Kings and the King of Rock ‘n’ Roll hang on a wall. It puts a microscope on the little everyday things inside that dive that a veteran once loved before he lost his life in war.

Chesney sings, “Lola built this joint in ’67/And her boy went out to fight on Christmas Eve/In a war nobody won, she lost her only son/Now everything he loved is what you see/Jesus and Elvis, painted on velvet/Hanging at the bar here every night/It’s good to be back again, oh, me and my old friends/’Neath the neon cross and a string of Christmas lights.”

What makes the song poignant during the holiday season is that there are people who live with the memory of someone they lost. And sometimes being surrounded by the things they left behind keeps their memory alive.

“It’s such a brilliant song,” Chesney told Katie Cook during a recent taping of CMT Hot 20 Countdown. “When I grew up in East Tennessee, I had all my heroes and I had my heroes as artists and as songwriters. And ‘Jesus and Elvis’ is the kind of song that made me love this music.”

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