“The thing about making Live in No Shoes Nation,” says 8-time Country Music Entertainer of the Year Kenny Chesney, “is beyond the songs, and the solos, and the raps, it’s really about friendship. That’s how I feel about all those people who’ve come out summer after summer, who’ve lived their lives through these songs, they’re my friends — and it’s how I feel about so many of the heroes and friends I’ve been able to make music with.”
“When I started listening to all the shows we’ve taped over the last 10 years, one thing that struck me is how many friends got up and shared the stage and their talent with me. People make so much of this about business, but to me, it’s about the people you get up and jam with, play songs and have fun. Like No Shoes Nation, the guests here are a massive part of it.”
With a handful of contemporary music’s biggest names, Chesney is well-reflected by the friends who join him on this 30-song set. Taylor Swift, Zac Brown Band, Mac McAnally, Old Dominion, David Lee Murphy, Dave Matthews and Grace Potter are all part of Live in No Shoes Nation. Whether singing their own song, Chesney’s song or a cover, each stamps the moment with their personal style as well as reflecting Chesney’s singular kind of country.
Eric Church provides one of the set’s most riveting tracks, as he joins Chesney for Life On a Rock’s gritty “When I See This Bar.” Recorded live at Gillette Stadium, “When I See This Bar” celebrates that one bar where one lives, loves, finds their way and realizes life is made of the smallest moments which hold the largest truths.
“Knowing Eric,” Chesney says, “I know that he’s lived every note of this song, the same way I did. Because it’s chasing your music through little local bars, hustling around where the people are right there – and you have to really work for it, that’s when you see how much music can mean. It drives you…”
“And all the people you meet just hanging out in places like that, well, that’s where the best friends are made. You know, they understand everything about who you are, and where you’ve been, and how you live. Eric gets that, and that’s why when he was out with us, it was always the greatest to have him come join us for ‘When I See This Bar’ every night. You can hear in his delivery, he understands — and he means it.”
Starting with a medley featuring Dave Matthews recorded on the final night of 2007’s Flip Flop Summer Tour, Live in No Shoes Nation represents 10 years of stadium shows, bar gigs, beach takeovers and stolen moments. Beyond his friends who appear, Chesney also offers seminal songs from Bruce Springsteen (“One Step Up”) and Guy Clark (“Hemingway’s Whiskey”).
“There’s a lot of love, a lot of heart and a lot of good times on this set,” Chesney says. “And it’s No Shoes Nation who really brings it all to life. When you hear the voices and the cheers, you understand how these relationships have been built to last.”
Live in No Shoes Nation will be released on Blue Chair Bay/Sony Nashville Oct. 27.