The inaugural American Country Countdown Awards will take place on December 15th and Kenny Chesney will be receiving a very prestigious honor.
Though the first-ever American Country Countdown Awards aren’t until Dec. 15, PEOPLE has learned exclusively that Chesney will receive the Groundbreaker Award, honoring his creative innovation, musical accomplishments and role in expanding the genre.
“The Groundbreaker Award recognizes how Kenny has revolutionized the live music experience for country fans,” says Mark Bracco, executive vice president of programing and development at Dick Clark Productions. “He is a true groundbreaker, moving country music into new directions with his pioneering, record-breaking tours that have propelled him into one of the very biggest live performing artists in America. Kenny is the perfect recipient for our very first show.”
“To be given the first of any special award is a great honor because you know they’ve really thought about it,” Chesney tells PEOPLE. “What they want that award to mean or represent, and how you do that. Given what they’re saying the Groundbreaker Award means, I’m honored that’s how the ACC Awards sees me. I try to push what we’ve done, give the fans the best night of the summer – and hopefully, we can keep making the music better and more interesting to give them a reason to come back.”
Watch the American Country Countdown Awards live on Monday, December 15th at 8pm ET on Fox.
“It seems like there are few times of the year when you can really unplug, really just be in the moment with your family and your friends – and celebrate how great life is,” Chesney says. “Over the last ten years, I’ve really come to appreciate that time off, and what those connections mean, and I wanted to share that feeling with my friends through music.
Kicked back, “Christmas in Blue Chair Bay” celebrates the chilled-out side of Chesney’s appeal. Taking it easy, loving life and painting a picture of a simple place where the emphasis is on what’s shared between people, it is a different kind of holiday song, but one that paints the fidelity among people with a genuine sense of warmth.
Produced with Buddy Cannon, this is Chesney’s first Christmas music since 2003’s nearly-Platinum All I Want For Christmas Is A Real Good Tan. Mixing originals with Willie Nelson’s “Pretty Paper,” Alabama’s “Christmas In Dixie” and Keith Whitley’s “Just a Kid” and classics “Silent Night” and “I’ll Be Home for Christmas,” its release caused lines so long at Minneapolis’ Mall of America three days before release it prompted the installation of heating units and porta-potties for the people waiting.
“I don’t know that anything I’ll ever do around the holidays will have that kind of response,” Chesney laughs about the album that also featured the debut of the Grigsby Twins on vocals. “But I do know that my family really loves Christmas – and I was in the mood, especially with the time I’ve been spending in Barbados with my rum, to try and distill how slow and sweet the holidays in the islands are when we can get there.”
For anyone who savors Chesney’s unique mix of sea salt, small towns, unwinding and enjoying life and the people you’re with right where you are, this song hits the nerve. As the lyrics invite, “Everybody raise a glass with me right now/ To all of those up in the snow from all of us down South/ ‘Tis the season for believing and faith and family/ I wish you were here with me…”
With Jason Aldean and Eric Church already set for select dates of The Big Revival Tour, Kenny Chesney has announced a few more acts that will be joining him: Jake Owen, Chase Rice, and Cole Swindell.
“When I came to town, I was a writer, trying to get my songs cut – and playing on a stool down on Lower Broadway,” Chesney says. “I didn’t have nearly the success Cole and Chase are enjoying right now, but I know the difference getting your music in front of an audience makes. For both of these guys, who have a lot of energy and a real way of grabbing people, I think it’s the perfect way to get the audience fired up for the show.”
Joining Chesney will be label mate Jake Owen, who skyrocketed to stardom with five #1 smashes – GOLD-certified hits “The One That Got Away,” “Anywhere with You,” Platinum certified “Alone with You,” “Beachin'” and 2X Platinum “Barefoot Blue Jean Night.” Known for his thrilling beachy performances and laid back style of country, Owen fits right in with the No Shoes Nation tour.
“It’s not just about the big names,” Chesney says of his tour chemistry. “It’s about fresh faces people need to know. If I can turn people on, or remind them of an artist like Jake, I know they’re gonna get a show that rocks them, but also opens up some new music. To me, that’s the secret of a great show: what you know and what you find out.
And the announcements aren’t done. Says Chesney: “In just a few days, I’ll have some more news to share, that is going to step up this tour to a whole other level…”
Kenny Chesney has announced he’ll partner with Eric Church for five additional stadium dates for 2015 as part of The Big Revival Tour
“There is something about the way Eric connects with my audience,” says Chesney, “that left me feeling like he made the No Shoes Nation Tour something special! He attacks the stage with so much force – and his songs really speak to the people who’re fighting the fight to get by – and I love that about what he does onstage.”
Saturday, May 9
Lucas Oil Stadium
Saturday, May 30
Saturday, June 13
The Georgia Dome
Saturday, July 11
Lincoln Financial Field
Saturday, August 22
“Some of the most fun I’ve ever had on tour was last summer with Kenny,” shares Church. “He’s an artist that isn’t afraid to let you come full blast and do what you do. It’s rare you get to tour with someone you respect and you are friends with. I can’t wait to do it again.”
“I’m so glad the fans in these five cities will get to rock with Eric this year,” Chesney enthuses. “It’s a wild night when we get together… and it’s something everyone should be a part of!”
Kenny Chesney has just debuted the music video for his latest single “Flora-Bama.” The Shaun Silva directed video features live footage from Chesney’s concert on the beach, plus additional scenes filmed at the location.
Back in August, Kenny Chesney performed for 40,000 fans on the Florida – Alabama border. The concert was filmed for a special that will begin airing on CMT next week.
According to a release from the network, on Friday CMT and CMT Pure will begin airing the clip for “Flora-Bama,” a song Chesney wrote with David Lee Murphy about the famous beach bar on the Alabama-Florida state line. Murphy appeared on stage with Chesney during his Flora-Bama-Jama performance.
The hour-long special “Kenny Chesney: Live from the Flora-Bama” will air for the first time on CMT on Nov. 14 at 9 p.m. central time and re-air Nov. 16 and at 8 a.m. Additional airings across CMT’s platforms – online, Pure, Video on Demand and Palladia – are being scheduled,according to the release. The special is expected to feature some of the 32-song set, plus some additional content filmed at the Flora-Bama.