Kenny Dishes on New Album in Billboard Interview

posted May 30th, 2012 at 3:09 pm

1 Comment »
by Josh Martn

Kenny Chesney is on the cover of the June 2nd issue of Billboard magazine (buy it here) and dishes on his new album Welcome to the Fishbowl that comes out June 19th.

“We think a lot about how to balance that fine line of being artistic and creative, but also being mainstream,” Chesney says. “It used to be I tried to be all mainstream, but now, especially with Hemingway’s Whiskey and Fishbowl, I’ve felt this creative freedom. I’m at a point in my career and my life where I can balance both, and that feels really good.”

The traditional recording process in Nashville focuses on crafting songs that sound great on the radio, but Cannon says Chesney’s always thinking about what a song will sound like live, a tactic Chesney confirms. “Making a song is a wonderful, creative time, but for me it can be a very stressful time,” Chesney says. “If you don’t get it right in the studio, you’re not going to get it right on the radio and out on the road. When I’m in the studio, I imagine myself being in the grass at an amphitheater. ‘What’s going to turn me on? What’s going to make me care?'”

There are a wealth of songs on “Fishbowl” tailor-made to make people care, particularly haunting, vulnerable ballads like “El Cerrito Place,” “Sing ‘Em Good, My Friend,” “Always Gonna Be You” and the gut-wrenching “While He Still Knows Who I Am.” The collection would be unrelentingly sad if not juxtaposed against rollicking fare like the title cut, “Whatever Makes You Feel Like a Rock Star” (with McGraw) and “Time Flies” — but it’s those risk — taking ballads that leave the biggest impression.

Sony Music Nashville chairman/CEO Gary Overton calls Fishbowl “truly a special record,” and was struck by its personal tone. “On many of the songs, Kenny pushed himself to dig deeper into the emotions of personal relationships-both successful and failed-more than he ever has before,” Overton says. “You can feel it in his voice.”

In lesser hands, these sorts of songs could fall flat if the interpreter doesn’t rise to the occasion, and Chesney realizes the risk involved in cutting such songs. “‘El Cerrito Place’ was one of them, because it’s been cut twice before and both were really good,” he says, adding that songwriter Keith Gattis’ version “is incredible, and I heard Charlie [Robison’s] version of it 10 years ago when it came out, and it haunted me. Now all this time has passed, and I still think it’s a little taboo to touch it-but I sure felt it. The time was right for me vocally and emotionally to sink my teeth into that song.”

As the recording process moved on, a common theme of emotional longing and alienation began to take shape, consciously or not. “Every record you make has its twists and turns, and this one was no different,” Chesney says. “The first one I recorded for it was ‘While He Still Knows Who I Am,’ and even that has an element of searching on it.”

Read more of the interview here.


Tagged in Albums, Interviews

  • Ctrevorwilson

    Pick me:) I’m a boy

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