Kenny Chesney’s Caribbean-inspired songs


Kenny Chesney’s latest album, “Life on a Rock,” reflects his fondness for the Caribbean. “The pirate life definitely had an influence on this album,” he said to Ed Condran of the Virginia Pilot.

The grass is always greener on the other side of the fence, particularly on a baseball diamond.

It’s not enough for Kenny Chesney to be the biggest country star on the planet. The diminutive singer dreams of being a baseball player.

He spoke to Philadelphia Phillies pitcher Roy Halladay, “and I told him that I want to face him in a simulated game action,” Chesney said. “I want him to bear down on me like it’s the seventh game of the World Series. I just want to experience what that feels like.”

A few days before Chesney and his band kicked off their “No Shoes Nation” tour in Tampa two months ago, the younger generation’s Jimmy Buffett wanted to inspire his crew. He called his close pal, “Monday Night Football” analyst Jon Gruden, who won a Super Bowl for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, to fire up his minions.

“It was an opening tour speech done in a way that only Jon Gruden can do it,” Chesney said.

Big is the only way Chesney knows how to play, and perhaps that’s part of the reason he has become so successful. He can play CEO and laid-back dude just as easily. His latest album, “Life on a Rock,” shows his casual side.

“Pirate Flag” is the initial single from an album filled with breezy, easy-to-consume anthemic songs that are perfect for the beach. Chesney’s fondness for the Caribbean had an impact on “Rock.”

“The pirate life definitely had an influence on this album,” Chesney said. ” ‘Pirate Flag’ reminds me of my favorite bar in the Virgin Islands. They ring a bell every day at 3 in the afternoon. At that time there, you let go of everything.”

Chesney, 45, will showcase some songs from “Life on a Rock” tonight at Farm Bureau Live in Virginia Beach, but he’s not going to inundate fans with new material.

“This is a very personal record for me,” Chesney said. “This whole record is about my life and the islands. It’s my stories. It’s a very reflective set of songs.”

It’s an about-face from “Welcome to the Fishbowl,” an album that was released less than a year before “Rock” dropped. Chesney hardly wrote anything for that release, but his fingerprints are all over “Rock.”

The tunes are emotional, direct and catchy. “I think they’re also the rawest and edgiest songs I’ve ever come up with,” Chesney said. “I just sat down with a pen and paper with no expectations, no deadline and just went with it.”

Chesney claims that at mid-life he’s never been more inspired. “This is the most creative I’ve ever felt,” Chesney says. “As a result I had a really great song cycle. I want to keep on building on what I have done so far.”

What Chesney has accomplished is staggering. Fourteen of his 15 albums have gone at least gold. Twenty-two of his singles have climbed to the top of the Billboard Hot Country Song chart.

Chesney, who headlines stadiums around the nation, is arguably the hottest country recording artist on the circuit. But while Chesney dreams of the big leagues of baseball, he isn’t too worried about following the path of other country musicians and crossing over into the movies.

“I don’t know why so many people want me to be in their films,” Chesney said.

It probably has something to do with Chesney’s star power. If you can sell out a stadium, then you might attract those fans to the movie theater.

“Maybe that’s it,” Chesney said. “I just have no interest in acting. I’m just coming to keep on making music.”

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