Hemingway’s Whiskey by Kenny Chesney

While 2008’s Lucky Old Sun and 2005’s Be as You Are both centered around Kenny’s time spent in tropical paradise, he largely turns his attention elsewhere on his latest effort. His yearlong sabbatical from touring has paid off with a more cohesive collection of songs that are at once universal yet obviously personal. He waxes nostalgic over high school football in “The Boys of Fall” and provides a follow-up to his recent hit “Shiftwork” with “Coastal,” a relatable tune about an ordinary laborer who makes a tropical escape. He reflects on the passing of the years with the sober “Where I Grew Up” and seems to acknowledge his recent touring burnout in “Round and Round.” Pop singer Grace Potter makes an appearance on “You and Tequila,” while George Jones and Kenny reprise George’s 1998 song “Small Y’all”—easily the most traditionally country tune Kenny has recorded during the past few years.

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