Everything We Know About Kenny Chesney’s New Album, ‘Cosmic Hallelujah’
It's been about two years since The Big Revival, and Kenny Chesney will soon have a brand-new album for fans to hear: Cosmic Hallelujah. And though he's been invested in every album he's released, Chesney admits that there's something inherently special about this one.
“In some ways, this record is more me than anything I’ve done. You get into my head, my heart and the way so much of what’s going on around all of us hits me," Chesney says. "Taken as a whole, this is a record about seizing life in all its forms: the moments you wish wouldn’t end, the times that make you rethink your priorities, the simple stuff that gives us balance, a few characters at the bar and the hope that it’s all worth doing.”
Below, The Boot rounds up everything that's known so far about Cosmic Hallelujah.
When Chesney first announced his new album, he stated that the project's title would be Some Town Somewhere. However, during a July 8 appearance on Good Morning America, Chesney shared that he'd changed the album title to Cosmic Hallelujah.
“The new music and the energy that the new music’s bringing … feels like a cosmic hallelujah; that’s the word that came out,” Chesney told GMA, “so that’s actually gonna be the title of the new album.”
The Release Date
Cosmic Hallelujah was originally set for release on July 8, 2016. However, on July 6, Chesney revealed that the album was being delayed until Oct. 28.
The Record Label
Chesney will release this new record with Blue Chair Records / Columbia Nashville. He launched the imprint in 2012 with his longtime label home, Sony Music Nashville, giving himself more creative control.
The Album Cover
Cosmic Hallelujah's album cover is a black-and-white shot of Chesney standing on a lighted pier or street (the background is relatively indistinguishable, save for a set of lights).
Chesney is working on Cosmic Hallelujah with longtime co-producer Buddy Cannon.
Because Chesney was so happy with how The Big Revival sounded in the studio, he is using many of the same musicians for Cosmic Hallelujah.
“When you’re in the studio, the chemistry the band has can have as much impact on the way the songs turn out as anything,” the artist explains. “You could feel it on the last album, and I think everybody brought it up a notch or two this time. Everyone kind of knew we’d let ‘em push the songs, and, man, did they. Even the acoustic songs have so much presence.”
After teasing the release of a new single on Facebook on March 16, Chesney officially announced "Noise" on March 24. It's a song that Chesney calls "socially relevant," and to him, it paints a picture of what life looks like for us in the 21st century with the Internet, iPhones, social media, television and a million other things competing for our attention.
"We're so addicted to communicating. We're all trapped in our phones, and we're all multi-tasking. At the end of the day, my brain is fried," he explains. "So the message is to try to get yourself out of that cloud. Believe it or not, once you get out of your phone there's a whole world out there, and it's really beautiful with really great people!"
Chesney says in a press release, "Sometimes you know you’ve got something so timely, so right then, you have to grab it. It seemed like everywhere I turn, everywhere I go, there is so much stuff coming at you. Your phone, your car, on the streets, on TV. Everywhere it’s just so loud, so much, so many different things — all pushing buttons, being sensational, shouting for attention. You can’t escape it, and you can’t turn it down.”
Chesney, who performed "Noise" at the 2016 ACM Awards, says that he was inspired for the song by simply going about everyday life; after all, life is full of noise. He reflects to Rolling Stone, "I was at home one day and noticed all these talking heads on TV, all these people who want to be heard. So they keep talking over each other and the next thing you know, they're all screaming. It gets so loud, that it almost becomes white noise."
He adds, "There's a line in the song that says, 'We didn't turn it on, but we didn't turn it off.' And that is really true about this tidal wave of sound that is forced on us every day. There are all these different frequencies in our head, and it's overwhelming. And we didn't necessarily ask for all of it, but we're getting all of it."
The artist was on his way to a marketing meeting and was writing in the car while driving into Nashville.
“I actually sat in my manager’s parking lot, still working on the lines, the phrasing, the rhythms … Until finally I had to go in,” Chesney recalls.
When Chesney was finished with his meeting, McAnally, Ross Copperman and Jon Nite had completed the song — and they had a working demo in place. Two days later, Chesney went into the studio to record “Noise.”
“The chorus is very orderly, very much a staccato press,” Chesney explains. “If there’s anything that sums up both the state of the world and the reality of what it costs us and feels like, it’s that. It’s all right there: ‘We scream, we shout ’til we don’t have a voice / In the streets, in the crowds, it ain’t nothing but noise … Drowning out all the dreams of this Tennessee boy / Just trying to be heard … in all this noise’ says it all.”
Fans can expect tunes crafted by some of Nashville's top songwriters: Tunesmiths for Cosmic Hallelujah include Matraca Berg, Hayes Carll, Hillary Lindsey, Shane McAnally, Allison Moorer (who will sing on the song she co-wrote), David Lee Murphy, Jon Nite, Josh Osborne and Craig Wiseman.
“Every time I go into the studio, I think it’s important to bring people into your world — and maybe give them back a piece of their own world in the process,” Chesney reflects. “I’ve had some of the very best songs, songs that really meant something to people, and we went interesting places musically. But that sets the bar higher every time. I don’t want to repeat — and I want to grow as an artist. It’s a lot harder than you’d think.”
“Sure, it would be easier to just leave everything on schedule. But when you have something you know is great, and it captures the best part of being alive, why wouldn’t you slow down enough to make it happen in the moment?” Chesney says. “That’s what “Setting the World on Fire” is all about — and I figure it may be a while before I make another record, and I don’t want to wait to share this because it’s so good.”
Chesney calls “Setting the World on Fire” “a song of being.” He and Pink formed a friendship while the “Noise” singer was spending time in California, and he calls her “an incredible singer" and describes her voice as one that “holds so many feelings all at the same time: joy, desire, a bit of toughness, a little hurt.”
“The thing about Pink, beyond what a great singer she is, is what a generous spirit she has,” Chesney adds. “To me, great singers are the ones who can get inside a song and capture the spark. When you hear Pink on this song, you believe her — and to me, that’s everything the song required to come to life.”
In addition to “Setting the World on Fire” and its first single, “Noise,” Cosmic Hallelujah will also feature songs titled “Some Town Somewhere,” “Trip Around the Sun,” “All the Pretty Girls,” “Bar at the End of the World,” “Winnebago,” “Jesus and Elvis,” “Bucket” and “Rich and Miserable.”
“And there’s one very special song I’ve been holding for years called “Coach” that we went in and re-cut,” Chesney reveals. “It really captured that song’s heart.”
Chesney hand-picked each of his tourmates with a specific purpose in mind: Lambert, for starters, appeared at Chesney’s 2015 show at Soldier Field in Chicago, and she made such an impact on him that he wanted her back.
“Miranda was such an awesome addition in Chicago,” Chesney says. “When I was thinking about what I wanted to do this year, how to keep the energy we had and give the fans something truly great musically, she just made sense. She’s a songwriter, a great singer and she loves music every bit as much as I do. In a stadium, those things matter.”
As for Hunt, Chesney recalls, “The second I heard Sam’s demo for "Come Over," I knew he was onto something very unique. Watching him develop as an artist, seeing his songwriting evolve — and knowing how he brings it when he gets on stage makes him a perfect act to come out with us.”
Old Dominion, meanwhile, helped kick off Chesney's tour in 2015. That trek set new attendance records in nine markets, and Chesney credits the band with much of the momentum.
“There is nothing like the energy of a stadium show,” Chesney says. “Old Dominion kicked the whole summer off last year with the best vibe. If we’re talking about Spread the Love, those guys are all about it. If there’s anything I want to see this summer, it’s that attitude that really defines what’s going on.”
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