Lucky Old Sun by Kenny Chesney

Kenny Chesney’s decision a few years ago to start singing about his leisure life on the islands of the Caribbean was a bold one—country music has traditionally encouraged listeners to identify with artists, and how many of us can afford to buy a house in St. John?

It proved a winning formula nonetheless, and one he’s been refining ever since. Lucky Old Sun is Kenny’s second attempt, following 2005’s Be as You Are: Songs From an Old Blue Chair, to expand his island view to album length.

The clutch of duets (with Willie Nelson, Dave Matthews and others) helps to foster the vital spirit of inclusiveness missing from its predecessor. But more important, Kenny here focuses less on the beach itself than the reasons people seek it out. The characters in these songs aren’t in the islands to get a tan—they’re escaping from chaos and seeking out peace.

That’s a feeling even us working-class landlubbers can relate to, whether or not we ever set foot on a beach.

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