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Album Spotlight: Kenny Chesney, ‘The Big Revival’

Columbia Nashville

If you’re a big picture kind of guy (or gal), Kenny Chesney’s ‘The Big Revival’ project may not be for you. The 11 songs on the singer’s new album celebrate the little moments in life that at the time mean nothing, but later mean everything.

It’s the little things that make life worth living,” Chesney sings during ‘Beer Can Chicken,’ the most obvious of the “little things” songs. Lyrically, this collection of mostly uptempo, acoustic country rockers is sharp and vivid.

Gonna take a deep breath and hold it in / Twirl you around ’till my head spins / Kiss that lipstick and wear it thin / Til it’s gone, til it’s gone,” he sings during ’Til It’s Gone,’ a mid-tempo love story that is sure to ring familiar to Chesney fans. Sonically, the singer and producer Buddy Cannon reign it in after ‘American Kids’ to create a more mainstream project.

Got a spirit that can’t be tamed / She’s a calico pony on an open plane / I know I’ll never be the same no more, for sure,” Chesney laments before the chorus of ‘Wild Child.’ It’s good to hear Grace Potter again — it’d be an injustice if this partnership was a one-off never to be revisited.

The album’s title track sets the tone, although lyrically it’s not as easy to translate as some of the others. “Praise the lord and pass me a copperhead,” Chesney urges over and over and over again. Some will wonder, ‘What the heck does that mean?’ Others will fall into the rhythm and the moment and say “thank you” for another chance to hear this singer preach. There’s something immediately satisfying about hearing him strike faith.

The lessons taught on this album are brimming with optimism and life. Nothing comes drenched in cheese — if you liked the invigorating gale that came swirling behind ‘American Kids,’ you’re going to enjoy most of the other 10 tracks. One can’t find a weeper, just a few nostalgic moments like ‘If This Bus Could Talk’ that quiet the room.

Key Tracks: ‘The Big Revival,’ ‘American Kids,’ ‘Wild Child,’ ‘Don’t It’

The Odd Couple: Chesney is as amazed as anyone that his voice blends with Grace Potter’s so perfectly. “It’s weird that they do,” he tells ToC. “She grew up in Vermont and I grew up in east Tennessee, and I never met Grace until we went into the studio to sing ‘You & Tequila’ together. And we both just kind of looked at each other and went, ‘Where have you been all of our lives?'”

Did You Know?: Both John Anderson (2001) and Montgomery Gentry (2008) recorded ‘The Big Revival’ previously. Montgomery Gentry’s is closest to Chesney’s version.

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