After the romping coming together in a divided world “Get Along” broke Billboard’s Country Airplay Chart record for the Most Country No. 1s by an artist, Kenny Chesney returns to country radio with the life-changing “Better Boat.” A song of grace in the face of humanity, it empowers without overpowering.
“Of all the songs on Songs for the Saints, ‘Better Boat’ really captures the emotion of that moment – and the months following Hurricanes Irma and Maria,” Chesney says. “There’s an acceptance it takes to face those challenges and all that uncertainty, something I know I’ve never seen in my lifetime.
“There’s a lyric that goes, ‘I ride the waves I can’t control…’ And that’s exactly how this was, and in some ways, still is.”
Opening with a gut string guitar part played by 9-time CMA Musician of the Year and acclaimed songwriter Mac McAnally, “Better Boat” drifts through consideration of the wreckage life can be, and the journey through vulnerability to acceptance and grace. Written by Travis Meadows and Liz Rose, it features the luminous voiced Mindy Smith, the very first winner of the Americana Music Awards New/Emerging Artist.
“Mindy’s voice is so much a part of my life on the islands: I remember ‘Come To Jesus’ so many nights, and so many mornings. Her voice would drift in through the windows, across the water, and it would just hold you. She’s like an angel, or a spirit who makes everything feel like it will be alright – and I thought that’s everything this song says beyond the actual words.”
Known for his game-changing ballads – “Anything But Mine,” “You and Tequila,” “Don’t Blink,” “Better As A Memory,” “Boys of Fall” – as much as his high velocity tempo tracks, “Better Boat” transforms the experience of life’s challenges into something more. It’s not just getting through the hard stuff, it’s finding a better truth about who you are.
“Travis Meadows and Liz Rose really captured that raw edge that comes from being overwhelmed and unsure of how you’re going to get there, but finding the faith to hang on,” Chesney says. “We’ve all been there in one way or another, but it’s the ability to trust what you can’t see when you’re sure you can’t take anymore that is so impossible to find sometimes. They not only put it in a song, but they put it on a song with a melody that feels like everything the song is trying to convey.”
With The New York Times writing, “the music gives him heroic, wide-open spaces,” Rolling Stone opining it “maps a cycle of grief and despair transformed into healing and resilience” and Entertainment Weekly calling it, “a love letter to the resilience of those living in the Caribbean,” “Better Boat” is the perfect reflection of the project.
Chesney, whose 2018 Trip Around the Sun Tour was the only country tour to make Pollstar’s Mid-Year Top 10 Tours, plays Nashville’s Nissan Stadium this weekend. The performance is a homecoming of sorts for the East Tennessee superstar, who’s spent the last year entrenched in rebuilding/recovery work in the U.S. and British Virgin Islands through his Love for Love City Fund.