Album Review: Kenny Chensey - “Born”

The country music icon is now twenty albums into his career and sounds as vibrant as ever as he blends the topics of life, love, relaxation and reflection on “Born.”

It’d be easy for an artist of Kenny Chesney’s stature to just mail it in on his latest — and 20th— album Born, but that’s simply not in the superstar’s DNA. He’s either all in or he’s not in at all. That ethos has been with Kenny Chesney since the very beginning and it’s why he took four years between albums to gather the fifteen songs which make up Born. For this album, he collaborated with new collaborators, created great new songs, found new songs and, in the end, has made what may be the most complete album of his career.

“Take Her Home” is a great example of this as Kenny takes a relatable song about young romance and turns it into a big moment ready for a sing-a-long moment at his vaunted live shows. Charlie Worsham, Brent Cobb and Jaren Johnston, three of country’s best ‘just out of the mainstream’ songwriters/artists, contribute “This Too Shall Pass” to Born. It’s laid-back in its approach about holding on through the fires of our lives and knowing that whatever is intense in the moment will truly pass. “Top Down” is another concert-ready Anthem moment while “The Way I Love You Now” is introspective and, over a beautiful melody, tells of a man grateful for life’s lessons even if the person he’s loved all this time has long moved on to a different life.

“Just To Say We Did” is the kind of song is all about living life while “Guilty Pleasure” is cheeky good fun as “Top Down” explores a different aspect of a life. “One Lonely Island” has an emotive R&B groove where two lonely hearts come together as “Come Here, Go Away” details the push and pull of a relationship that’s neither good nor bad for the two hearts at the center of it.

Born is as cohesive as any record in Kenny Chesney’s career. Every song is from top shelf writers and collaborators and it closes on a brilliantly metaphysical note with “Wherever You Are Tonight.” The Gary Burr and Mike Reid-penned song is not only a Kenny Chesney classic in the making but it feels like an instant addition to the modern Great American Songbook. It’s a wonderful closer for this album and a great potential closer for any concert Kenny Chesney performs for the rest of his career.