With his tour on pause, Kenny wanted to do something special for No Shoes Nation when it came time to release Here And Now. Though not known for his social media engagement, the East Tennessee songwriter went live from his home outside Nashville. But even more than answering the dozen and a half questions from fans all over the country, Kenny also enlisted the writers for six of the songs to join him on his social media platforms plus SiriusXM’s The Highway and No Shoes Radio.
“This album is so much about the writers and the fun of being together, the people in the songs and the heart of what No Shoes Nation is,” explains Kenny. “We took the music a lot of places, looked at a lot of moments and found some characters you can’t turn away from. So, I wanted the songwriters to be part of releasing this music to the world!”
David Lee Murphy, Brett James, Kat Higgins, James Slater, Bobby Hamrick, Jamie Paulin, Barry Dean, Dustin Christensen and Josh Kerr took part in the intimate performances from the question and answer session broadcast direct to No Shoes Nation. With a little rehearsal and a whole lot of love, the revolving creators brought “Knowing You,” “Happy Does,” “Beautiful World,” “You Don’t Get To,” “Wasted” and “Guys Named Captain,” as well as a bonus “Everything’s Gonna Be Alright” to life via their loose, in the moment, sheer chemistry of creation.
“It was so much fun, bringing all the writers together... Some of them old friends, some I’d never met. Kat Higgins is so young and so good. David Lee Murphy remains the hillbilly rock star. Every single one of them is such a creative spirit; I loved being able to show everyone around the world how amazing the people I get to write and play music with are,” shares Kenny.
With viewers from Italy and Ireland, the Caribbean and Hawaii, as well as questions from Arizona, South Carolina, Pennsylvania, Massachusetts, Wisconsin and California, it was No Shoes Nation at its best. As he said, “I didn’t know what to expect, and I knew I wanted to give the people something they wouldn’t normally get to see – and they really threw some great questions at me! No Shoes Nation really listens and really cares about this music, and that keeps me pushing to always give them more.”
That raising the bar has not gone unnoticed. The New York Times singled out “You Don’t Get To” on its weekly Playlist feature alongside Haim, Oasis, Megan Thee Stallion and Beyoncé, while Variety opined, “designed for Chesney fans to shout 70,000 strong… Here And Now is a strangely satisfying album for this particular moment in time” and American Songwriter raved, “the smelling salts clarity of how good simple country music sounds... seeking quality songs that sound like real people wrote them out of a life lived instead calculating jingles in three hour increments.”
CMT.com offered Here And Now is, “all about being in the moment and having your priorities right now... a handful of postcards,” and AlwaysMountainTime agreed, “Kenny Chesney Sends Emotional Postcards with Here And Now.” Even the measured All Music Guide believes, “Chesney is sincere when he sings his favorite place to be is the here and now... but does explore different emotions, giving Here And Now a quiet, but real resonance.”