Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Kenny Chesney: Billboard Cover Story

There are a lot of captivating photos on the walls of Kenny Chesney's home office, but one stands out both visually and symbolically.

Eagles guitarist Joe Walsh is center stage, signature guitar in place, arms spread wide, hands flashing the devil horns, his face contorted in Walsh-ian fashion, while in the background are Marshall amps and what looks like a collection of bikini tops. To Walsh's right stands Chesney, dressed in his traditional stage attire of T-shirt, jeans and expertly blocked cowboy hat.

The audience -- a packed house at Denver's Red Rocks Amphitheatre, we discover-is surely focused on Walsh as the shutter clicks, and so is Chesney. It's a rock and roll moment for a country music singer, and the story behind this photo speaks volumes about Chesney and the journey he's taken to become the genre's biggest star, with million-ticket-selling tours, more than 30 million albums sold, 22 Billboard Hot Country Songs No. 1s and eight Country Music Assn. and Academy of Country Music entertainer of the year awards.

"I'm more comfortable as a vocalist and songwriter than I have been on the previous 12 records," Kenny Chesney tells Billboard about "Welcome to the Fishbowl."

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