Kenny Chesney Says “But We Did It”

Doing the Unconventional Pays Off

Kenny Chesney‘s Cosmic Hallelujah was released more than a year ago. But that timing makes it just right for a Grammy.

His 16th studio album has been nominated for a Grammy for best country album, and Chesney sounds like he’s glad that doing things differently keeps paying off.

“We did unconventional things with Cosmic Hallelujah, always in the name of music,” Chesney said in the Tennessean. “To change the lead single nine days out because you think the message is important is crazy. But, we did it with ‘Noise.'”

He also did something unconventional with another song on the album, one that — so far — has not been a radio release. “To make a big video for a song like ‘Rich & Miserable’ and bring in a big actor like John C. McGinley (Scrubs, Battle of the Sexes), because the message mattered is unheard of, but we did it,” he said.

Rich and Miserable by Kenny Chesney on VEVO.

“I believe in albums and songs that dig deeper.

“It may not be as easy or what other people are doing, but I made the commitment to that — this far into a career you need to decide what’s important — and I stuck to it,” he said. “This morning, I feel like the people who create understood.”

Other highlights from this Grammy-nominated album are Chesney’s cover of Foreigner’s 1984 power ballad “I Want to Know What Love Is,” the way he tips his hat to his coaches on “Coach,” a song he co-wrote with “Boys of Fall” creator Casey Beathard, and the dive-bar ballad “Jesus and Elvis.”

“Jesus and Elvis” comes from the pens of Matraca Berg, Hayes Carll and Allison Moorer. When Moorer reflected on the song in American Songwriter, she credited Chesney with seeing the potential in the tune.

“Kenny is a shrewd artist. No one sells tens of millions of records accidentally. He is a song connoisseur and has a great ear for what will connect with his audience. Better yet, he knows how to communicate a song to his audience so that they relate to it. Neither Matraca, Hayes, nor I have any idea how to do that on the scale that he does,” Moorer wrote. “Kenny Chesney has his pick of thousands of songs every time he records an album. It says a lot for us that he took a risk on ours. As far as I’m concerned, that’s cool.”

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