Album Remarks & Appraisals:
Hemingway's Whiskey is the fourteenth studio album by American country music recording artist Kenny Chesney. It was released on September 28, 2010 via BNA Records. The album debuted at number one on the U.S. Billboard 200, selling 183,000 copies in its first week of release. The release is his sixth number one album, thus ranking him second among country acts with the most number one albums, only behind Garth Brooks. In its second week of release, the album dropped to number two on the Billboard 200, selling 65,000 copies. In its third week of release it fell to number six on the Billboard 200, selling 40,000 copies. In its fourth week of release, the album fell to number thirteen on the Billboard 200 selling 26,126 copies. As of the chart dated January 8, 2011, the album has sold 601,030 copies in the US.
"By now, Kenny Chesney fans pretty much know what to expect from him. With each new album comes songs with a nostalgic look back, party tunes sure to rile up the live audience, a tale or two about love gone awry, and a salute to the beach in one form or another.
The tunes on "Hemingway's Whiskey," out Sept. 28, all tick off the check list, but along with the usual fare, Chesney hits some career high notes, primarily with the exquisite "You and Tequila," featuring Grace Potter of the Nocturnals. The gorgeous, wistful duet written by Deana Carter and Matraca Berg, deals with wrestling your demons. "You and Tequila make me crazy/run like poison in my blood/One more night could kill me/One is one too many/One more is never enough," they sing, gently and sadly, resigned to their fate. It flows from the same open vein, although not as heartbreakingly, as the incomparable "Whiskey Lullaby" from Brad Paisley and Alison Krauss (written by Bill Anderson and Jon Randall).
Speaking of whiskey, the title track, Guy Clark's salute to drinking and the great American author, misses Clark's lived-in, gruff vocal heft, but Chesney's sheer affection for the song helps him pull it off.
First single, "The Boys of Fall" (Chesney's 31st Top 5 country single) takes Chesney back to the nostalgia of his high school football days. It's also the title to Chesney's documentary about high school football that's airing on ESPN. Think "Friday Night Lights" set to music. Chesney does nostalgia well (as evidenced on "I Go Back" or "Young") and also sets the way back machine with "Where I Grew Up," which chronicles important passages in our lives that mark time more effectively than birthdays ever can.
Chesney joins with one of his musical heroes, George Jones, on "Small Y'all," a Bobby Braddock tune the Possum cut years ago (and Randy Travis before him) that uses the same name-rhyming device as Paul Simon's "50 Ways to Leave Your Lover." It's a novelty song, but it's a blast to hear the two duet and to hear Chesney cut something so traditionally country.
There's some filler here: "Coastal," about the Redneck Riviera, and "Reality," which sounds like watered-down Brad Paisley, is clearly meant for a live audience rather than the album-listening one.
Chesney long ago mastered the art of sounding strong, yet effortless when he sings and he has it down to an art here. The song material seems a little more grown-up and contemplative than he's tackled in the past, yet he's still offering listeners of all ages a respite from the day's troubles. Crack open a beer-- or perhaps, in this case, pour yourself a whiskey or shot of tequila-- and crank it up." - HitFix
"Four-time CMA Entertainer of the Year Kenny Chesney won't compete for the coveted honor when the awards are handed out on November 10. In the last year, he's taken a sabbatical from touring, effectively surrendering his title as the industry's torchbearer.
According to Chesney, his hiatus has given him a fresh perspective in terms of picking songs. It sounds like a winning recipe for an artist who seemed to be cruising along in recent years. His first couple albums had only established him as a George Strait clone, but he'd busted through that comparison and built a career on four-minute bits of nostalgia.
Now a man in his mid-40s, Chesney offers Hemingway's Whiskey, a reflective album where he's pondering an uncertain future. The album's lead single "The Boys of Fall," focuses on a small town's obsession with high school football, but it's just as much an admission of his own fears as he passes through middle age.
Known largely for his rowdy devotions to island life, Chesney has become the hillbilly king of the Caribbean. With Whiskey he maintains that image and proves that he can still let loose occasionally. For years, the road warrior worked at a frantic pace, so on songs like "Coastal" and "Reality," he's convincing as he relishes a life of surf and sand.
Cheseny remains most comfortable with standard South" - The9513
"Hemingway's Whiskey premiered on Kenny Chesney's 'No Shoes Radio' web radio Thursday, September 23 and it allowed me to listen to the whole album in its entirety before the physical copy of the album was sent to the Roughstock offices. Lead single "The Boys of Fall" started the radio program off and as the lead single from the album the song showcased what helped make Chesney a star in the first place, his ability to emote relatable lyrics. "The Boys of Fall" may ultimately be about time as a football player but in reality it's about having a belief system, brotherhood and friendship and faith all wrapped up into one four minute song. "Live A Little, Love A Lot" is a hook-laden, radio ready up-tempo number (a future #1 hit) that is intended to remind people to not take themselves or life to seriously and to remember to have a good time.
A Post-millennial Kenny Chesney album wouldn't be complete without having a song that recalls the beach. That's what "Coastal" does for Hemingway's Whiskey. It's a cute little tempo-filled song that helps the album keep a flow. "You And Tequila" was written by Matraca Berg and Deana Carter and features Grace Potter. It's one of the album's 'buzzworthy' songs and the pairing with Grace Potter was particularly a smart decision. This 'rock' vocalist could really work well in today's country music with her 'angelic' voice. Who knows if Kenny will release it to radio but it might have a chance to sneak up the charts. The production is understated and allows the fantastic lyric and vocal paring shine, just the way it should have been.
"Seven Days A Thousand Times" is a laid-back, melodic ballad about a short period of time in a man's life and how that short time stuck with the man years after it happened. Everyone, whether they like Kenny Chesney or not, will certainly relate to the lyrics and meaning of the song, which is to say that we all have memories that stick out more than the rest of our life. "Small Y'all" is a remake that was previously recorded by George Jones and Randy Travis. This song is a fun little track that is the most traditional song on the record and it features George Jones on it as well. Fans of the early Chesney records will certainly enjoy this song.
"Where I Grew Up" may fall into the small town, nostalgia-filled songs (or "The House That Built Me") that have been all the rage these days but there's something about Kenny Chesney's new tune that makes it stand out more than I had expected it to. Written by Ashley Gorley, Kelley Lovelace and Neil Thrasher the song just feels as comfortable as an old pair of Wrangler jeans. Kenny used to write quite a bit more than he does these days so it's always interesting to find songs with his name on the record and that's what "Reality" is, a song about escaping into 'a fantasy' to 'break free' from life. It's not much different than some of his other tunes yet I think in today's ADD society the song may wind up being a big ole radio hit.
As somebody who has had a 'restless spirit' and wondered about 'is the grass greener' somewhere else, I can really relate to "Round and Round." To me there's no doubting that this one will be released to country radio at some point as it has an interesting (albeit not very country) melody, the same thing that can be said about "Somewhere With You," a tune with tasty guitar fills and a vocal melody that will likely surprise some people. The vocal phrasing is 'fast' for a Kenny Chesney song and it feels slightly like a late 1980s pop/rock hit.
The album closes-up with "Hemingway's Whiskey, " a song written by legendary songwriter Guy Clark (with Joe Leathers and Ray Stephenson). The anchor of Kenny's album of the same name, the song manages to not be 'bombastic' or much different than Clark's own version from 2009. It's the kind of song that really needs more than one or two listens to fully digest but the gist of the song is to have 'take aways' from people you meet in your life and to never lose the zeal for life. Hemingway's Whiskey is a record that finds Kenny Chesney feeling recharged. It's a record that runs the gamut of human emotion and paints stories the way Hemingway's novels did." - RoughStock
Personnel: Kenny Greenberg, Pat Buchanan (acoustic guitar, electric guitar); John Willis (acoustic guitar, gut-string guitar, mandolin); Sonny Garrish (steel guitar); Larry Franklin, Rob Hajacos (fiddle); Mickey Raphael (harmonica); Jeffrey Taylor (accordion); John Hobbs (piano, keyboards); Randy McCormick (keyboards); Paul Leim (drums, percussion); Mark Beckett (drums); Eric Darken (percussion); John Wesley Ryles, Neil Thrasher, Paul Overstreet, Scotty Emerick, Melonie Cannon, Wyatt Beard, Buddy Cannon, Grace Potter (background vocals).
Audio Mixer: Justin Niebank.
Liner Note Author: Judy Forde-Blair.
Recording information: Blackbird Studios; Love Shack Recording Studios; Sound Emporium Recording Studios, Nashville, TN; The Tone Dock; Westwood Sound Studios, Nashville, TN.
Photographer: Glen Rose.
Kenny Chesney returns with his first true studio album in three years, Hemingway's Whiskey, named after a Guy Clark song that Chesney features prominently in the project.