Kenny Chesney Found Country Music Success When He Stopped Trying To Be George Strait: “I Wasn’t Truly Being Authentic”

Kenny Chesney country music
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I mean, I can’t really fault Kenny Chesney too much for wanting to be like George Strait.

I think most young country artists, male or female, would be more than happy with a career that’s even a fraction as successful and legendary as The King’s. But, then again, no one else will ever be George Strait, so creating a career like his is imposible.

And during an interview with Country Countdown USA’s Lon Helton at CRS (Country Radio Seminar) this year, Kenny talked about how when he first got started in the business, he was trying to be too much like George and losing his unique identity in the process:

“I was a lot like a lot of artists, honestly. I was trying to be the newer version of George Strait. I think Garth would tell you the same thing, he loved George. That was the bar. I wore a belt buckle. I was trying to be that.”

He continued, saying he started to notice that he wasn’t the only one trying to emulate The King, and obviously that’s a great standard to be reaching for, but ultimately, he got lost in a sea of others trying to make it just like he was:

“This isn’t a slam toward anybody, but I realized there were acts out there that felt the same way I did. We were all trying to reach for Strait. I didn’t have as good of a song as Tracy Lawrence had, with ‘Time Marches On.’ I just felt I wasn’t truly being authentic as an artist during that time.

There was a phase, after Garth hit, where everybody wore the same shirt.”

It all clicked for him when he finally started being himself and not George Strait, adding that he “started really writing songs” after that:

“But the moment I stopped trying to be George Strait, that was the moment my life changed. I started really writing songs. And my life in the Virgin Islands, I spent a lot of time writing out there.”

He also talked about one of his biggest hits “Don’t Blink,” and how he actually hated that they pushed it as a single at the time:

“When we released that song… I hated it. I felt like it just touched every button you could possibly touch to get somebody to like a song and I hated it. We were at ABC Radio Networks in Dallas, and we were on the plane there, and I was in Joe’s ear the who two-hour ride about how much I hated this single choice:

‘It’s never gonna work, this is going to be the end of everything. I’ve worked really hard to be here and you’re gonna cut my legs off with ‘Don’t Blink.” I did my interviews and we are coming down the escalators and the lady at the front desk tells me, ‘I just love ‘Don’t Blink’!’

I looked at Galante and said, ‘You told her to say that.'”

The song was included on his 2007 Just Who I Am: Poets & Pirates album, and ended up being a four-week #1 hit on the Billboard country airplay chart.

I mean, 16 years later and it’s just as tieless as ever…

“Don’t Blink”

Kenny Chesney Announces 2024 ‘Sun Goes Down’ Stadium Tour

Kenny Chesney is heading to a stadium near you next summer.

He just announced his 2024 headlining Sun Goes Down tour, which will kick off next April at Tampa Bay’s Raymond James Stadium and run through August 23rd at Foxborough, Massachusetts’s Gillette Stadium, the now-traditional final tour stop for Chesney.

Joining him on the trek is up-and-comer Megan Moroney, along with the Zac Brown Band and Uncle Kracker.

Chesney of course named the tour for his song “When the Sun Goes Down,” which was written by Brett James and recorded by Kenny Chesney along with Uncle Kracker as a duet. It was released in February of 2004 as the second single and title track from his 2004 album of the same name, ultimately peaking at #1 on the U.S. Billboard Hot Country Singles chart where it remained for five weeks.

Chesney says that song encapsulates the entire feel and purpose of this tour:

“I wanted a name that suggested – obviously – when all the good stuff starts to happen. The one thing I’ve learned about No Shoes Nation and these stadium shows is they start the good times early and they just keep it going.

But we all know, when the sun goes down, that’s when people really get loose and enjoy themselves. That was the thing about Uncle Kracker and my song. It captured a vibe and a moment so perfectly. No matter how much fun you’re having all day long, ‘everything gets hotter when the sun goes down…’

I know from years of experience that’s true. So, I can’t wait to get back out there, stadium-sized ’cause there’s nothing like 60,000 members of No Shoes Nation singing these songs. It’s gonna be awesome.”

You can see the full list of tour dates below.

Sun Goes Down 2024 tour dates:

Saturday, April 20, 2024 Tampa, Fla. Raymond James Stadium
Saturday, April 27, 2024 Charlotte, N.C. Bank of America Stadium
Saturday, May 4, 2024 Minneapolis, Minn. U.S. Bank Stadium
Saturday, May 11, 2024 Arlington, Texas AT&T Stadium
Saturday, May 18, 2024 Atlanta, Ga. Mercedes-Benz Stadium
Saturday, May 25, 2024 Landover, Md. FedExField
Saturday, June 1, 2024 Pittsburgh, Pa. Acrisure Stadium
Saturday, June 8, 2024 Philadelphia, Pa. Lincoln Financial Field
Saturday, June 15, 2024 Chicago, Ill. Soldier Field
Saturday, June 22, 2024 Milwaukee, Wisc. American Family Field
Saturday, July 6, 2024 Kansas City, Mo. GEHA Field at Arrowhead Stadium
Saturday, July 13, 2024 Seattle, Wash. Lumen Field
Saturday, July 20, 2024 Los Angeles, Calif. SoFi Stadium
Saturday, July 27, 2024 Denver, Colo. Empower Field at Mile High Stadium
Saturday, Aug. 3, 2024 Nashville, Tenn. Nissan Stadium
Saturday, Aug. 10, 2024 Detroit, Mich. Ford Field
Saturday, Aug. 17, 2024 East Rutherford, N.J. MetLife Stadium
Friday, Aug. 23, 2024 Foxborough, Mass. Gillette Stadium

“When The Sun Goes Down”

A beer bottle on a dock



A beer bottle on a dock