By Lauren Del Turco
Kenny Chesney’s recently released studio album “The Big Revival” brings some much needed authenticity to the country music genre that is currently drowning in cheap beer and drunk girls. The album aptly opens up with the words, “get ready for the big revival.”
Chesney’s new, 11-track album combines his well-established signature style of energetic guitar riffs and rockabilly choruses with folky narratives and hippie vibes. Some of Chesney’s greatest past hits vary from the slow soul of “You and Tequila Make Me Crazy” (2010) to the feel-good stadium anthem, “Summertime” (2006). “The Big Revival” similarly features both Chesney’s arena rock energy, with new song “Til It’s Gone,” and a knack for quiet and melodic acoustics on “Wild Child.”
“The Big Revival” also continues Chesney’s frequent collaboration with other artists. “Wild Child” features Grace Potter, who first appeared in Chesney’s 2010 LP “Hemingway’s Whiskey.” Contributors on past albums include musical legends such as Willie Nelson, Uncle Kracker and Allison Krauss.
“Wild Child” is one of the standout songs on the album, creating a female character with “a kaleidoscope of colors in her mind” and a lot more depth than most of the females currently being portrayed in popular country music. Chesney and Potter’s well acquainted voices make for soothing harmonies and practically poetic lyrics.
The album’s lead single and greatest success is “American Kids,” with its airy jangle and tumbleweed energy. The melody change of the two-part chorus amps up the volume and has you clapping your hands and tapping your toes. “American Kids” embodies the real-life appeal of many of Chesney’s past hits. Lyrics like “MTV on the RCA, no A/C in the vents” feel familiar, just like the song’s references to hometown weekends and that “boyfriend daddy doesn’t like.”
The only shortcoming of “The Big Revival” is “Don’t It.” The folky narrative gets lost in the mellow monotone buzz of the verses. The song wanders along, unsure where it’s headed, until it comes to a quiet end.
Overall, “The Big Revival” is just what the “No Shoes Nation” (as Chesney fans have come to be called) needed, especially after the poor performance of “Life on a Rock” in 2013. Don’t call it a comeback — call it a revival.