Kenny Chesney Tones Down His Anthemic Quality To Provide More Intimacy On ‘Song for the Saints”

Written by taylor
/ 4 mins read

Kenny Chesney is a very easy artist to get along with, as the Rock and big anthemic hooks he normally incorporates are generally solid and enjoyable – and while he has sometimes been labeled as too commercial and arena-orientated in the past, I always felt that he was the type of Garth Brooks talent to pack a stadium while at the same time possessing an understated side, just looking for the right moment to glow. That moment seems to have been preempted by environmental catastrophe, as Chesney’s world view was deeply effected by 2017’s Hurricane Irma, which devastated his beloved town and residence of Caribbean island Saint Martin. The title track of the album, “Songs for the Saints”, is a ballad with a quiet Rock ferocity that encapsulates this lament, with a dust-yourself-off spirit – “this brokenness will heal, this weakness will be strong / let's lift our voice together as the saints go marchin' on.”

Every Track Has The Heart Of An Island

Kenny Chesney exceeds at mixing tropical music with Country, and while this would not be the first time in his career that he played in this particular hybrid sub genre – one most celebrated by Jimmy Buffet, the tracks on Songs for the Saints contain a beachy, breezy atmosphere which I find super appealing – compared to the foot-stomping rebel music that is too hard for me to relate to. Some cuts on the album stand out even more because of their adherence to more Reggaesque sound design – the Jamaican skank is perceptive on somberly played yet comforting “Every Heart Is An Island”, while Ziggy Marley teams up with Chesney on the lazy steel pulse of “Love for Love City.” If it wasn’t for Kenny’s more straightforward drawl, this could have been a straight up adorable roots song adhering to Caribbean conventions rather than Country ones.

Right After Irma, The Album Was Written In Three Weeks Under The Duress Of Creative Anxiety

The intimate nature of the arrangements may have something to do with the fact that Kenny Chesney was compelled to record these songs in a creative rush, unwilling to wait for the backing of a big band and huge sonic wizardry. He wrote “Songs for the Saints” first, and the very next day, “Love for Love City” – with both having a simple quality made grander by empathetic messages. He then wrote all remaining songs without much of a plan, so much was the emotional urgency to get these songs out quickly while he was in this surreal mood. Though the album was swiftly made, I find it to be very good, incorporating the aforementioned tropical styles, and also traditional acoustic moods, electric guitar ballads, and a healthy heap of nostalgic song writing. My favorite of the nostalgic trips is “Better Boat”, which carries much substance and sounds as if it had been on the writers board for longer than claimed.

Kick Back At A Beachside Bar, Or Take A Leisurely Coastal Drive With This Magical Trip

I’m not even the type of dude to do it, but I could totally join in on the open air cabana vibe of fun-to- follow “Get Along” and “Island Rain”, or cruise down the coast at twilight while listening to a number of scene-setting ballads like “Pirate Song”, “Gulf Moon”, and the Jimmy Buffet duet “Trying To Reason With Hurricane Season.” Other guitar driven ballads include “We’re All Here”, a honky tonk happiness mixed with side-glancing melancholia, as well as the haunted call to adventure “Ends of the Earth”, which mixes a ghostly tom-rumbling march of rhythm and ethereal overdubs, that beckon you to come on this journey, where love awaits at its terminus – if you have enough courage to embark. I was pleased to hear these songs in their perfect order, and continue to be thrilled by the album’s last number, “Better Boat”, a tender closer which features a mix of original and reminiscent notes, recalling my love for the sad-smile feeling of Sting’s post-divorce tale “I’m So Happy I Can’t Stop Crying.”

2. Track List (11)

3. Official (11)

4. Live (1)

5. Featuring Remixes

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9. Album Info


Songs for the Saints is the seventeenth studio album by American country music singer Kenny Chesney. It was released on July 27, 2018 via Warner Bros. Records Nashville and Blue Chair Records. The album's content was inspired by Hurricane Irma.
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  • Kenny Chesney


  • Blue Chair
  • Warner Bros. Nashville


  • Chesney
  • Buddy Cannon