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It is likely that right now, somewhere off the coast of the Virgin Islands, Kenny Chesney is bobbing on the ocean and reflecting on his remarkable year.
“The last 15 years of my life, the very next day after the last show, I fly south and wake up and get on my boat, and I can hear the ringing in my ears from all summer,” he tells Rolling Stone Country.
The ringing may be especially loud this year. Chesney played more than 60 shows, kicking off with two nights at Nashville’s Bridgestone Arena on his birthday and ending last weekend with his two customary blow-outs at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, Massachusetts.
After taking a much-needed year off to recharge his batteries, the East Tennessee native admits that he had been anxious about how his latest album, The Big Revival, would be received by fans and whether they would kick off their flip-flops to rejoin No Shoes Nation this summer.
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He speaks with Rolling Stone Country in the back seat of an SUV en route to Boston Medical Center for a luncheon with survivors of the Boston marathon bombings.
Sporting a Red Sox cap and drinking a sugar-free Red Bull â€” “my only bad habit on tour,” says the singer who abstains from alcohol save a customary mid-show gulp of a margarita â€” Chesney has come in a day ahead of the final two shows to break bread with some of the people who have benefitted from the Spread the Love fund the singer founded shortly after the attacks in 2013. The fund, whose moniker comes from a buoyant track featuring the Wailers on his 2013 album, Life on a Rock, has raised $400,000 through Chesney’s own donation, those of others, and the revenue from T-shirts sold at his shows.
He interacts with the people in the room, including doctors, hospital staff, and several survivors who lost one or both legs, as if they are family. And for him, they are. “I was so pissed when I saw the news,” Chesney tells the group, recalling his reaction to the bombings. He goofs around with the service dogs that survivors Celeste and Sydney Corcoran have brought to the event and, in a quiet moment as the group mingles, he remarks in an aside, visibly moved, at how poignant it is that this group, brought together by tragedy, has forged a bond that goes beyond it.
StreeXB extends special thanks to Rolling StoneÂ for the article. Click here to read more ofÂ Kenny ChesneyÂ surprise album on tour
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