As the only country artist on Billboard’s Top Touring Acts of the Last 25 Years – even though he has only done a dozen headlining tours since 2002 –Kenny Chesney’s NFL stadium-filling treks have become a rite of summer. So when Entertainment Weekly was putting together their annual Summer Music Issue, there was only one tour to get inside: Chesney’s 2016 Spread The Love Tour with Miranda Lambert, Sam Hunt and Old Dominion.
“The idea of sitting down with Sam and Miranda, talking about the road and music really appealed to me,” said the 8-time Country Music Association and Academy of Country Music Entertainer of the Year. “Beyond how many trucks or favorite memories, they wanted to have a real talk about the state of what we do, what makes shows really click – and how awesome I think all of these acts touring with us this summer are.”
Meeting at an industrial complex rehearsal space in Nashville, Chesney, Lambert and Hunt took part in a photo shoot with noted photographer Danny Clinch, who’s also shot several of Chesney’s album covers. Then the trio retired to a tiny production room for an hour-long roundtable interview about what the summer will hold.
Sub-headlined “From portable bars to finding new fans, country’s biggest stars reveal the best parts of hitting the road together,” writer Madison Vain made connections between Lambert’s prior touring with Chesney, Hunt’s first breakthrough coming from Chesney’s No. 1 version of “Come Over” and the way some thrills of road life never fade. Read a preview of the piece here.
With “Noise,” the last-minute swapped single from Some Town Somewhere being Chesney’s most-added first week single ever, the man the Dallas Morning News called “Two parts Mick Jagger, one part Bruce Springsteen, one part Billy Graham” is hitting a new creative peak. Spread The Love reflects that passion for music among all of this year’s participants.
“Normally, I don’t like to give too much away before the shows really get into the pocket,” Chesney says of the decision to give Entertainment Weekly such an in-depth interview. “But this is such a creative, musical bunch… and everyone out here loves music with that same intense passion that my guys do, so we figured: why not? And to talk music like that with people I respect so much, well, it was a pretty cool way to spend a morning.”
Having kicked off with 50,430 members of the No Shoes Nation as the first concert at Auburn University’s Jordan-Hare Stadium, Spread The Love is already in high gear. By summer’s end, Chesney will have logged 135 stadium shows and well over a million fans on each of his 13 headlining tours.
As “Noise” hits Top 10, No Shoes Radio goes live on SiriusXM from Asbury Park, NJ’s Stone Pony tonight and Some Town Somewhere gets closer to its July 8 street date, this week’s Entertainment Weekly is a chance to see three stars unguarded and throwing down.