I have seen a lot of other reviews of Kenny Chesney’s new album that berated him for the lack of what they call “country music” on his new album, and kind of dismissing it as “island music.” well, truth be known, it is pretty laid back, and there are no drinkin’ and cheatin’ songs here. It’s not your father’s country music, but it is a prime example of country in the 21st century at it’s best.
Chesey cut his teeth at Capricorn Records in Macon, Georgia back in the day, the home of people like The Allman Brothers, Marshall Tucker and Grinderswitch. On top of that influence, he has been baptized in the warm Florida sounds made popular by Jimmy Buffett. Sure, he has his George Jones influence, his Cash and Haggard, but Chesney chooses to blend it with a wide variety of sensory input, creating a sound that is all his own.
On Lucky Old Sun, Kenny delivers an absolutely beautiful duet with Dave Matthews on “I’m Alive,” and almost every song has a water theme, great songs like “Way Down Here,” “Keys in the Conch Shell,” and “Boats,” but there are also songs that are straight up tunes about life (“Everybody Wants to Go to Heaven,” “Spirit of a Storm”) and love (“Down the Road,” featuring Mac McAnally).
This Deluxe Version also features several live tracks including “Guitars and Tiki Bars,” “Soul of a Sailor,” and “Boston,” among others. And they are all good.
It’s one of Kenny Chesney’s best albums to date, as laid back as ol’ Willie What’s His Name, and as beautiful as a Hawaiian sunset. It’s Island Country, and Kenny Chesney is the originator. If I was doing a star rating system and five was he best, I’d have to give brother Kenny a six.
-Michael Buffalo Smith