Has He Set the Bar Too High?

Just Who I Am: Poets & Pirates (RCA)
Kenny Chesney

By Rob Greenwell

Kenny Chesney released his latest studio album in September, his first release in more than a couple of years. Certainly, you are wondering, "Why are you getting around to this now when he released the project in September?" I will tell you why: I couldn't really get any thoughts together that would make any sense.

You know what you get with Chesney; he is arguably the hottest selling ticket in country music today. He can sell out 20,000-seat arenas or 60,000-seat football stadiums. His music has always been good, producing No. 1 singles every once in awhile. So what's so special about this particular project more than any of his previous work? Nothing. And that is not saying that it's a bad album; it's actually pretty good. Chesney is having the same problem that Garth Brooks had in the 1990s, setting the bar so high it's almost impossible to live up to the expectations. Any other artist puts this out, it's a breakout for them.

Now onto the album: The first two singles (also the first two tracks) are the major hits of the CD. "Never Wanted Nothing More," a song about being in the moment and having nothing else matter. "Don't Blink," by far the best song on this album, is something that everyone needs to take heed, we only get one try at this thing called life. The most rockin', partyin', feel-good song is a duet with Eagles legend Joe Walsh, a remake of the Dwight Yoakam hit "Wild Ride." It may never get the first spin in country radio, but nevertheless it's a great song that even feels like the artist was being a little introspective about his life.

There are some goods songs around the aforementioned ones but the one that absolutely should have not been on this project is a duet with the king himself, George Strait. "Shiftwork" is not a good fit at all for either of them. I expected a lot more from them. I do hope they will give it another try; maybe something from Dean Dillion would be nice.

This is a solid album from Chesney, great songs, a couple of hits, blah, blah. Maybe my expectations are too high from the hottest-selling artist in the business - I was just expecting more.

Check out www.kennychesney.com (like you haven't already).

Pulling No Punches