Last year, when news broke that Hurricane Irma had made landfall in the Caribbean, anyone who knew anything about Kenny Chesney immediately began to wonder about his safety and his home.
Chesney, a part-time resident of the Virgin Islands, wasn’t present when the storm hit and thankfully, his house was standing strong in the midst of the chaos as it was providing safety and shelter to many of his island friends and neighbors who remained behind.
He was, however, already putting the wheels in motion that will provide hope and assistance to those affected by the devastating storms.
As his friends were being evacuated and airlifted in the aftermath, Chesney was writing, gathering and recording songs for an album aimed at capturing the spirit of his island community, a spirit of hope, faith and resilience now put together perfectly in his newest collection, Songs for the Saints.
“I knew I wanted this album to show the spirit of the people, but I wanted it to focus on healing, on their gift to rise above such complete chaos and devastation,” Chesney said in a release. “They had no power, no real food, nothing; they dug in, started clearing the land and rebuilding. To me, that’s inspiring.”
“To let them know, they’re not only not forgotten months later, but we’re holding them up as inspiration — and offering help in any way that we can, including music,” Chesney added. “Because music heals, it inspires, and this is for them.”
Songs for the Saints features some special musical guests who have ties to the island: Ziggy Marley, Mindy Smith and of course, Chesney’s buddy Jimmy Buffett.
“Ziggy Marley and his family’s legacy hold so much truth for all of the people I know down there,” Chesney said. “Mindy Smith’s Come To Jesus was an album I lived with from morning to night when I was first going down there — and her voice sounds like an angel.”
As for Buffett’s contribution, it just made sense for Chesney.
“Jimmy, more than the lost shaker of salt, understands the poetry of the islands beyond what tourists see, the life in a way that made a song written decades ago so current. I’m honored they also want to help.”
Songs for the Saints was recorded in Nashville and mixed in Key West. Proceeds from the album sales will continue to support Hurricane Irma disaster relief for the U.S. and British Virgin Islands through the nonprofit, Love for Love City Fund. Pre-orders for the album begin Friday (June 15), with an official release date set for July 27.
Songs for the Saints tracklisting:
Songs for the Saints
Love for Love City (with Ziggy Marley)
Ends Of The Earth
Trying To Reason With Hurricane Season (with Jimmy Buffett)
We’re All Here
Better Boat (featuring Mindy Smith)