Here and Now

Here and Now

The further Kenny Chesney has gotten into the stadium-filling portion of his career, the more emphasis he’s placed on portraying a sense of reciprocity with and appreciation for his massive fanbase, No Shoes Nation, as well as the sizable team that supports his tours. His 19th studio album Here and Now, made with his longtime co-producer Buddy Cannon, kicks off with a breezy, folkloric ode to the space they all inhabit together. “Not really sure who’s lifting up who/You came to see us, we came to see you,” he sings in his amiably steady way during “We Do.” In keeping with his musical outlook, a number of the songs celebrate a kind of contentment that has more to do with pursuing passion and whimsy than settling down. He offers up admiring portraits of unattached womanhood (in the trim, Eagles-ish country rock of “Everyone She Knows”), fond remembrance of living large (in the jovial, loping “Wasted”), and yarn-spinning masters of their own seafaring domains (in the elegant singer-songwriter-style tune “Guys Named Captain”). During the sleek heartland-rock number “Heartbreakers,” which nonchalantly name-drops a Springsteen classic, Chesney embraces small-town, youthful nostalgia without melancholy, imagining a liveliness that doesn’t fade with time.

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