Sand, sun, clear blue water, a cocktail, and Kenny Chesney… Sounds like every country girl’s dream. Well ladies, dreams really do come true. Chesney’s newest album, “Life on a Rock,” makes you feel like you are laying on a beach somewhere in the Caribbean, listening to Chesney play you some private, intimate tunes.
The overall theme of the album has the Bob Marley, Caribbean, Kenny Chesney style; however, while that thread runs through, when taking a closer listen, the album has a bit of an eclectic feel to it as well. There is a lot of emotion and intimate moments Chesney shares this time around with his listeners. Be sure to pay close attention to the lyrics; it’s a more personal side of Chesney than his fans may be used to.
Chesney’s album kicks off with the debut single, “Pirate Flag.” It is followed up with, “When I See This Bar.” This is one of the few tracks on the album closer to a traditional country sound. It does have a tropical feel to it, but the guitar melody stands out above any bongo drums in the background. Chesney sings about looking back at a place, in this case a bar, that helped define him as a person.
“Spread the Love,” features The Wailers with Elan. Chesney last collaborated with The Wailers on “Everybody Wants to Go to Heaven.” It sounds like you’re listening to a Bob Marley song, but with Chesney’s voice. Given some of the recent tragedies that have happened in the U.S., this song sends the perfect message about loving each other and lifting up one another.
The fourth track is a song called, “Lindy,” a tune about a man who lives in a small town; he doesn’t talk to anyone; he simply lives his life in his own way. By the time the music ends, you may find yourself wondering who this “Lindy” really is. The song has a sweet melody to it, more traditional country than Bob Marley country.
“Coconut Tree” features Willie Nelson. Though Chesney did not pen this song, with lyrics like, “high up in a coconut tree,” emphasis on the first word of the lyric, it’s as if it were written for him and Nelson to sing –especially Nelson.
“It’s That Time of Day,” gives the feeling like you are floating on a raft out at sea, not a care in the world, just relaxing and enjoying the rock of the waves. The song drifts nicely into the title track, “Life on a Rock;” a song about Chesney’s life when he’s at home in the Caribbean, living his life on an island, or as he calls it, a rock.
What ties the entire album together is “Marley.” No, this is not a song about a dog, it’s about the other Marley, as in Bob. “Marley” is the closest thing to a ballad on the album. It’s a soft song with a great guitar and bongo beat intertwined, creating a rhythmic and captivating melody. Chesney shares a more private side of himself, describing what he does to clear his head when he is off the road and away from the hustle and bustle.
“Must Be Something I Missed” has a hint of a blues sound, mixed with that Bob Marley flare that runs throughout the album. Like “Marley,” it reveals a side of Chesney fans may not have heard before.
“Happy On the Hey Now (A Song for Kristi)” rounds out the album. It’s a moving song about a woman named Kristi whose memory will live on, even though she passed away. In the booklet which contains the lyrics from the album, there is a picture of a woman in the background of the lyrics page for this song. I suspect the woman in the picture is Kristi, and that Kristi may have been a real person and a friend of Chesney’s.
The album as a whole is one of the most powerful collections Chesney has ever put out. If you’re interested in getting to see a more personal side of Chesney , or just looking for some relaxing music that can take you to a tropical paradise, than this album is a must get.