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Rebel Anthem's Their Song of the Week FIVE Days Before Release

Nashville: When Kenny Chesney heard "Pirate Flag," he knew it was an anthem for his No Shoes Nation. With its driving beat, the David Lee Murphy/Ross Copperman song of eschewing it all struck a chord with the 4 consecutive Academy of Country Music and 4 time Country Music Association Entertainer of the Year who's made a career out of coloring outside the obvious - and his instincts have been validated by USA Today five days before "Pirate Flag" even hits the airwaves.

Crowning this week's Grammy walk-up Playlist from critic Elysa Gardner is the designation of "Pirate Flag" as USA Today's Song of the Week. Critic at large Brian Mansfield writes, "Country's island boy hoists his Jolly Roger on his new single, which hits radio Friday, hopping an ocean-bound bus out of a Smoky Mountain small town and transforming himself into a rum-soaked renegade. With its mandolin, tin-whistle sound and classic-rock guitar riffs, this pseudo-shanty is the first volley from Chesney's next album, out April 30."

"Every now and then, you come upon a song that says everything you feel," Chesney admits with a laugh. "For me, when I heard it, I just went, 'Yeah...' Because it captures the way freedom feels, that pumping in your blood when you know you've got two days and nobody to answer to.

"I'm glad to know USA Today hears what I felt... It's easy to just shrug stuff off, act like 'Been there, done that.' But sometimes you've got something, and it won't let go. I guess they sense that hold (this song has), too."

With its big beats, slithering electric guitar solo and insistent down-stroke on the mandolin, this is industrial country with enough bluegrass tempering the Tom Petty-esque arrangement to add heft to the swaggering song of escape and freedom from the daily grind.

"There are so many expectations, so much responsibility. Sometimes you just wanna say, 'Forget it...' and run hard at whatever makes you happy. That's what this song is all about. Even the beat is this driving thing that moves you to where you wanna be. I think everybody's been there. Even if you're trapped in a 9-to-5 that drags on 'til 8 or 9, 'Pirate Flag' can be as much a state of mind as being out on the high seas."

Hard at work putting the finishing touches on his largely self-penned April 30th Blue Chair/Columbia release, the songwriter/entertainer is gearing up for another summer of stadiums, sheds and arenas. Look for the "Pirate Flag" to fly March 16 at Raymond James Stadium, home of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers as the No Shoes Nation Tour kicks off for what promises to be a long chill summer...