Kenney Chesney Still Talking about Willie’ Nelson

When he opens his mouth, there’s just so much there, beyond the notes, even,” Chesney said. “He’s Willie Nelson. He’s one of the great American voices of all time, and he’s someone I’ve listened to my whole life. So the idea that he’d call me about making a record with him, well, you just don’t dream stuff like that.

“Having honed his craft at Acuff Rose as a staff writer, Chesney learned songwriting in the old school sense. What makes a song work was ingrained in him, and it was something he took very seriously when looking for material for Nelson. Drawing on Guy Clark, Bob Dylan, Kris Kristofferson, Dave Matthews and Randy Newman, Chesney sought out songs as strong as Nelson’s singing.

“We had all the guys in the studio in a circle, and they were just so there,” Chesney said. “This was Willie Nelson, singing some of the best American songwriters, and you could tell everyone was completely into it. Even Willie said it was the most fun he’d had in the studio. That made me proud.”

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