We know that Kenny Chesney has a love for New England, the birthplace of No Shoes Nation, like no other, despite being a Tennessee native. However, we also know that he has a love for the Virgin Islands, specifically Saint John, that runs deeper than most. It’s a place where he spends most of his off-season, and a place that he calls his second home. When Hurricane Irma hit the islands in 2017 and nearly destroyed everything, Kenny felt the brokenness that engulfed the ‘Saints.’ He decided to write about it to try and heal the wounds that were left upon the islands, the amazing souls who live there, and even the ones within himself. In an interview with Billboard, Chesney stated “I’ve spent the majority of my adult life walking those beaches and hanging out in those bars and writing songs. All of a sudden, it was a place that was… very broken.” ‘Songs For The Saints’ is Chesney’s 17th studio album, but probably his most heartfelt and reflective. In this 11 song album, he pays tribute to the lives lost and the beautiful spirit that lives within those islands.
“If you believe music heals and rebuilds the human spirit, this has the potential to be one of the most important albums I’ve made.”
1.) ‘Songs for the Saints’ – Written by Kenny Chesney, Tom Douglas, and Scooter Carusoe.
Impression: To open the charity album, Kenny goes with a gospel sounding intro. It features an acoustic guitar, paired with Kenny’s strong, yet somber voice. The chant-ridden single motivates the devastated people and it draws all the attention to the fact that this album will be based around the “saints” – standing for both the islands and the people that inhabit them.
Favorite Lyrics: We say we can when they say we can’t. See what it is when they see what it ain’t…
2.) ‘Every Heart’ – Written by Shane McAnally and Josh Osborne.
Impression: Bringing his beachy vibes back, ‘Every Heart’ encompasses the steel guitars and drums that scream the sun and the sand. Chesney describes that every heart is an island – it will lead you back home, every time. He points out that most things in this life are based off of material things, except for the islands. They were created for us to admire and enjoy, much like resembling the heart of a person.
Favorite Lyrics: Tryin’ to find our way home and every tear is an ocean. We’re all brothers in a storm and we’re tryin’ to survive it…
3.) ‘Get Along’ – Written by Shane McAnally, Josh Osborne and Ross Copperman.
Impression: This song quickly became one of Kenny’s many No. 1 Billboard chart toppers. The single follows suit of Chesney’s song library with strong guitars cutting through the noise and a positive beat you can tap to. However, the whole song is set up as a call and response with a tribal, campfire feeling to it. Some can even say it resembles a little bit of John Mellencamp and older rock songs of that nature. It was the first single released off the album.
Favorite Lyrics: Met a man wearin’ a t-shirt, that says “Virginia is for lovers.” Had a Bible in his left hand and a bottle in the other. He says ‘All you’re really given is the sunshine and your name.’ We both started laughin’ when the sky started to rain.
4.) ‘Pirate Song’ – Written by Kenny Chesney and Jon Randall.
Impression: A strong guitar-filled intro takes hold of track four. ‘Pirate Song’ can be considered a song that embodies what Kenny feels while he is on his beloved island of Saint John. It describes the island life and what he yearns for year after year. Everything is much simpler there, and everything is at peace. Chesney says he wishes he was a pirate living under his own flag, out there on the ocean.
Favorite Lyrics: …Runnin’ for no reason and no reason to turn back. Salt and rum on my tongue, sails tattered and torn. Laughin’ in the devil’s face, ridin’ out a storm…
5.) ‘Love for Love City’ – Written by Kenny Chesney and Scooter Carusoe.
Impression: ‘Love for Love City’ was named after the foundation Chesney started in order to support to U.S. Virgin Islands during their time of turmoil after the hurricane. Ziggy Marley is featured on the song which adds the perfect island rhythm. The single expresses that all the love that the islands have given to others needs to be given back to the islands during this time. They are a home, a healer, and a heaven to most. Fans can expect a complete island vibe to this track.
Favorite Lyrics: My healer, my heaven, my home. The day that I found you, my burdens were gone…
6.) ‘Ends of the Earth’ – Written by Ben Schneider.
Impression: ‘Ends of the Earth’ is composed in a way that is resemblant of his smash hit ‘Somewhere With You’. It cuts deep into the listeners soul, and the strong instrumentals capture your attention. This song urges someone to travel out to the unknown and explore all the beauties that this Earth has to offer. Staying stagnant in one place is not what this life was meant to be – adventure to the islands and get lost in their danger and serenity.
Favorite Lyrics: I was a-ready to die for you, baby, doesn’t mean I’m ready to stay. What good is livin’ a life you’ve been given if all you do is stand in one place…
7.) ‘Gulf Moon’ – Written by John Baumann.
Impression: This song is reminiscent of the dive bars that line the island, the special stops that mark the piers, and all the people that filter in and out of the island’s best spots. All of these places are highlighted by the gulf moon that illuminates the sky. You can always count on it to be there, watching from above.
Favorite Lyrics: With a glass half-full of Jameson, well, I was born to croon. I might as well, ‘neath the gulf moon…
8.) ‘Island Rain’ – Written by Kenny Chesney and Mac McAnally.
Impression: Track 8 brings a much more upbeat tempo to the serious, reflective album. It has soft rocker tendencies with hints of Tom Petty underlying. This song is about the healing powers the island rains have on a soul.
Favorite Lyrics: Maybe what you have ain’t what you wanted, where you are ain’t where you wanna be. Maybe you feel tied down, maybe somethin’s gonna come around, to set you free…
9.) ‘Trying to Reason With Hurricane Season’ – Written by Jimmy Buffett.
Impression: Two of country music’s most iconic beach singers collaborate on this track that is the embodiment of island time. This song was originally written and cut by the great Jimmy Buffett, but Chesney later covered it for this album with Buffett as a feature. The name is absolutely fitting for this occasion, and these two island men coming together to stand behind some of the most beautiful islands is extremely respective.
Favorite Lyrics: Somethin’ about a Sunday, it’s the most peculiar gray. Strollin’ down the avenue…
10.) ‘We’re All Here’ – Written by Kenny Chesney, Casey Beathard, and David Lee Murphy.
Impression: Another happy tune adds life to this album. This song explains that everyone on the islands are all there because maybe they all “aren’t there.” They all have a few screws loose, came on a whim or a prayer, and all have scars that make them who they are. These are the island people, and they’re all here.
Favorite Lyrics: We ain’t closin’ down anytime soon. If you wanna come howl at the moon, we can always make a little more room.
11.) ‘Better Boat’ – Written by Travis Meadows, and Liz Rose.
Impression: The last song of the album is a very relaxing one at that. It features the lovely Mindy Smith and her angelic back up vocals enhance the track’s calmness. The final song signifies the rebuilding of the islands and their people. What they have been through only makes them stronger, even if they can’t see it right away.
Favorite Lyrics: What ain’t workin’, what’s still hurtin’, all the things I feel like cussin’ out. Now and then I let it go, I ride the waves I can’t control…
Kenny Chesney’s ‘Song For the Saints’ is out everywhere now! If you’d like to donate to his charity “Love for Love City” you can do so here: https://loveforlovecity.org.