In a world of uptempo positivity, Kenny Chesney knew “Knowing You,” a four-minute waltz about celebrating someone lost – whether to time, a break-up or death – was the kind of song that wasn’t going to take his singles’ usual high-speed flight up the Country Airplay charts. Recognizing the quality of the song, the depth of its emotional current and the power of what the song provides listeners, the eight-time Entertainer of the Year dug in and said, “Let’s put this out.”
Last Week, Kenny Chesney had his 34th No. 1 single. Harkening back to a time in country music when life-capturing ballads such as CMA Award-winners “Strawberry Wine” and “I Hope You Dance” ruled the charts in profound ways, Chesney’s ruminative waltz offers a respite in the realm of today’s Nashville. It also provides people letting go of people and moments they loved with a way to be joyous in honoring what was.
“Losing people you care about is always hard,” Chesney offers. “There’s a hole where all that adventure used to be. But if you pause for a moment, remember all the crazy times; the discoveries, moments you shared while sad andlaughing… If you take all that in, if you know the person who’s gone brought all that to you; how can you be anything but glad? When you’re sad, it’s so easy to forget… But I worry we lose all the love and beauty in sadness over what’s gone. My hope, throughout the life of this single, has been for people to take this idea and embrace it, embrace that person they loved who’s gone and celebrate every small thing that was part of their relationship.”
The official music video – shot in Gloucester, Mass and St. Croix to demonstrate the juxtaposition of the Technicolor feelings life with this person elicited and to the muted tones of a world without them – was a mini-movie honoring the song’s core emotions. Award-winning director and longtime friend Shaun Silva created a panoramic clip as breathtaking as the melody is simple. For fans of true country music, it reflects the duality for the young man from East Tennessee chasing a dream and the crazy world he built over time.
Written by Adam James, Brett James and Kat Higgins, the yearning song was Higgins’ first cut. Now it will become the very first American No. 1 for the Canadian Country Music Association-nominated songwriter/artist, whose songs have also been recorded by Carrie Underwood and The Lone Bellow. As Chesney says, “One of the things I love about this business is moments when someone appears with such a special take on life… and they write it down, then suddenly the whole world sings their songs.
“There is such a beautiful innocence to this song. I love the idea that what was great is what matters; the idea that what you felt that was so good – that’s the thing to hang on to. Wishing the other person well, hoping they’re out there spreading that same joy, feeling that same love wherever they may be? To me, that’s just beautiful.”