Kenny Chesney came to Nashville fresh out of college with a headful of dreams and a fistful of songs. He didn’t know how his adventure was going to turn out, but he intended to put his whole heart into it. Along the way, he released 17 albums, has now scored 29 No. 1s, played 135 stadiums and became the only country act on Billboard’s Top 10 Touring Acts of the Last 25 Years, helping break a lot of today’s headliners along the way.
Recognizing the impact the man who released Cosmic Hallelujah on Friday, October 8th has had on creativity in American pop music, both the Country Music Association and BMI are honoring his mark – creatively, and beyond – with the Pinnacle and President’s Award respectively. The Pinnacle Award has been given only twice; the President’s Award — presented across genres — includes pop, rock, hip-hop and Latin songwriters.
“These honors are a little hard to get my head around,” says Chesney. “I do what I do – keep trying to make better music, play better shows. To me, if you’re committed to songs, you’re always trying to grow and learn and figuring stuff out. It’s why every album I release, I try to keep clearing the bar the last one set – and it’s hard.”
Chesney’s compulsion to always create better music that hits his audience – deemed the No Shoes Nation – in the heart has resulted in “Setting The World on Fire,” his in-the-moment-plunge-into-love song with P!NK having its second week at No. 1 on the Mediabase chart and fourth week at No. 1 on the Billboard Hot Country Songs chart, which measures airplay, streams and downloads. “Fire” is also hovering outside the Top 20 on Hot AC.
“To me, if you’re committed to songs, you’re always trying to grow and learn and figuring stuff out.”
With appearances on The Ellen DeGeneres Show, Today, The Talk and The Late Late Show with James Corden, the East Tennessee songwriter/superstar’s latest has been garnering a glowing critical response. USA Today proclaimed, “Chesney goes ‘deeper’ on new album,” while The New York Times enthused Cosmic Hallelujah is “a long, long way from Mr. Chesney’s typical arena-country ballads about rural pleasures and island getaways” and NPR cited it for “folk’s storytelling, soul’s honesty and gospel’s spirit.” Newsday raved, “The result will fit nicely between ‘Friends in Low Places’ and ‘Keep Your Hands To Yourself.’ In other words, country perfection.”
“There’s nothing better than getting new music to the fans,” Chesney says. “It’s what this whole journey was built on. From the time ‘The Tin Man’ got me signed to Acuff Rose Music and then Capricorn Records by Phil Walden, who didn’t even do country music – singing songs that showed how people like me lived has been the reason I’ve chased this dream. This week, it’s like it’s coming true in some ways… But you know me, there’s always more to sing, to play, to do.”
With the BMI Award being given Nov. 1, Chesney is first being recognized as a songwriter with The President’s Award. Then on November 2nd, he receives the Pinnacle Award recognizing his impact on and beyond country’s traditions during the 50th Annual Country Music Awards, broadcast live on ABC.
Author: Buddy Iahn
Buddy Iahn founded The Music Universe when he decided to juxtapose his love of web design and music. As a lifelong drummer, he decided to take a hiatus from playing music to report it. The website began as a fun project in 2013 to one of the top independent news sites.