by Brian Mansfield
Along with Nashville producer Buddy Cannon, the Country Music Association’s reigning Entertainer of the Year produced Willie Nelson’s Moment of Forever album, as well as a bluegrass offering from Tim Hensley, who plays guitar in Chesney’s band. Both discs are out this week.
“I’ve always been comfortable seeing my vision and, with Buddy’s help, having it come to life in the studio,” says Chesney, who has been producing his own albums with Cannon since 2002′s No Shoes, No Shirt, No Problems. “For the first time, I had to back out of the front chair as an artist and become sensitive to what another artist wanted their record to sound like, then mix it with my vision.”
Chesney initially worked with Nelson after inviting him to record the Frankie Laine hit That Lucky Old Sun for a future Chesney project. After hearing a rough mix of that duet, Nelson invited Cannon and Chesney to work on an album with him.
“I didn’t know whether (Chesney) would be willing to jump in and do something on one of my records, but I came to find out he was a fan,” Nelson says. “He was right there with every note that we were doing. He worked hard in there.”