One of country music’s biggest stars and a 6-time Grammy nominee, Kenny Chesney, is returning to the Walmart AMP stage in 2018. Chesney will headline a July 12, 2018, concert at the AMP with opener Old Dominion; it is his third time to perform at the AMP. Tickets range from $60-$109, and they go on sale at 10 a.m. Friday, Jan. 19 through ticketmaster.com.
Chesney is one of country music’s most prolific and successful acts, having sold over 30 million copies of his 20 albums, which produced more than 40 Top 10 singles on the Billboard charts – 29 of which have reached No. 1. Chesney is a 6-Academy of Country Music Awards winner (including four consecutive Entertainer of the Year awards from 2005 to 2008), as well as 6 awards from the Country Music Association. He was just nominated for his 6th Grammy – but his first solo nod – for Best Country Album for Cosmic Hallelujah.
The Grammy nomination was somewhat serendipitous, coming after a last-minute change to the release schedule for Cosmic Hallelujah‘s tracks. In fact, when Chesney switched the lead single to “Noise” 9 days before the launch of the record, people thought he was crazy. But the song – written, recorded and mastered in 3 days – spoke to the toxic information overload in a way that felt urgent, and the 8-time Entertainer of the Year decided to let the music speak to the 24/7 rush of constant connection. From that moment, everything about the songwriter/superstar from East Tennessee native defied conventional wisdom.
Cosmic Hallelujah received Chesney’s first solo Grammy nomination. Upon hearing the news, he marveled, “People thought I was crazy doing what felt right for the music. But sometimes songs need to be released, or given a video even if they’re not a single, or have the people who’re living the song make the video. … It’s easy to lose track of the music in the marketing and the promotion, but for Cosmic Hallelujah, I wanted music to drive the decisions. Right now, I feel that was the right thing to do.”
From “Noise” being written, recorded, and swapped at the last minute, to the euphoric multiple-week No. 1 “Setting the World On Fire” with Pink; a provocative, big-budget “Paper Chase” video featuring John C. McGinley for “Rich and Miserable,” which never was a single; to a 3-week No. 1 final single “All the Pretty Girls,” with a video made by a pair of Belmont University students, nothing about Cosmic Hallelujah followed traditional orthodoxy. As Chesney says of the decisions, “It was a lot of heart, soul, and passion driven by music.”
The critics agreed. The New York Times recognized the stretch, writing, “a long, long way from Mr. Chesney’s typical arena-country ballads about rural pleasures and island getaways,” and NPR cited the album’s depths of “folk’s storytelling, soul’s honesty and gospel’s spirit,” while Los Angeles Times said “the new album offers deeper, more nuanced thoughts on the distractions of the Instagram era (‘Noise’), the comforts of home (‘Jesus and Elvis’) and even the stagnation of the American dream (‘Rich and Miserable’).”
Co-produced with Buddy Cannon (Willie Nelson, Merle Haggard), Cosmic Hallelujah marked a progression from The Big Revival, both groundbreaking records for Chesney. Chesney’s most recent Grammy nomination stands as recognition for finding the intersection between connecting through traditional mainstream media/radio and creating music that digs a little deeper.
Entertainment Weekly agreed, “His attempts at digging deeper make the lighter material feel earned, and they elevate his work above much of country’s escapist fare,” while Newsday called it, “country perfection,” and The Boston Globe deemed it “a love song to another person and to the idea of getting away … working from a larger sonic palette, one that incorporates ideas from stadium-rockers with whom he shares dressing rooms and the rollicking Nashville bars that still loom large in country’s imagination.”
“The Grammys represent the entire music community coming together,” Chesney explains. “It’s the best of the best of every kind of music there is, voted on by the creators, the players, the songwriters, producers and engineers. To have this nomination means a lot, because it is about the music – and given how Cosmic Hallelujah got here, I can’t think of a better honor.”