Kenny Chesney began writing what would become his latest album, Songs for the Saints, after learning that Hurricane Irma tore through his home in the Virgin Islands. While he was in Nashville during the storm, his friends on the islands were taking cover in his home there. And with electricity out and cell towers knocked down, he didn’t know if his friends were alive.
“It was a really, really scary time,” Chesney tells the Tennessean. “All that anxiety and all that fear made me hyper-focused to a point where I became it. I would get up every day, go into the studio and make this record. I’ve never made a record that was so in the moment, and I think you can hear that angst and I think you can hear the anxiety.”
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I’ve never made a record in the middle of such chaos and anxiety, but I took every bit of that into the studio… and you can hear it in the vocals of songs like #LoveforLoveCity. Looking back, what a beautiful way to make a record for people I love so much. And now, I can give that music back to them in a way that makes a difference. Every bit of this record benefits the people of the islands, but every note, I hope, will lift up anyone who listens. #SONGSFORTHESAINTS is out Friday… Link to preorder in bio.
While writing and recording Songs for the Saints became therapeutic for Kenny, it also morphed into a project that he hoped would provide help to hurricane victims. All proceeds from the album will be donated to the singer’s Love for Love City Foundation, which funds rescue and rebuilding projects after Hurricane Irma.
“When you think about all the people it could help and how it could help change their psyche and give healing, [‘Songs for the Saints’] is probably the most important record I’ve ever made,” he adds. “I hope they get as much healing out of listening to it as I did from making it.”
Thanks to his success as an artist, Kenny was able to provide the use of his plane when partnering with local animal rescue groups to help save countless animals abandoned during the hurricane. More than 1,400 dogs displaced by the storm were flown to the mainland, where they are now safe.
“People can disappoint you, animals never will,” he reflects. “I never thought I would have been in a position to do that. But it’s only because of music that I’m in that spot. It’s been an unbelievable experience.”
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#SONGSFORTHESAINTS is out. This is more personal than anything I’ve done. There’s a lot of seeking, hopefully a lot of healing and definitely songs about how we face things. This album is about lifting people up and reminding them what they’re made of. I'm so excited to finally get it in your hands. Link in bio.