"When I See This Bar" Arrives at Country Radio Today
Nashville: Though Kenny Chesney wrote the songs on his 7th Billboard #1 all-genre Top 200 Albums debut Life On A Rock for himself - and the people who lived those moments with him, the pensive songwriter has been surprised by the response the deeply personal collection has garnered. Glowing reviews in The Chicago Tribune, Washington Post, Cleveland Plain Dealer and Boston Globe showed the handful of songs resonated far from the place they were born.
"I didn't know," Chesney admits. "But I know I really felt something in these songs... Heart and life, the way life moves and things change. I wanted to capture it in one place before it was gone, and I guess I forget - like we all do when we're living in the moment - we all have that place we go where we grew up, met our friends, let off steam... It can be in Dallas, Texas or Raleigh, North Carolina, or anywhere you are."
Listening to the collected songs from Life On A Rock coming down a hallway before a recent stadium show, he realized "When I See This Bar" isn't just a song about a specific place, but a geographic moment in time that every single person has. Having focused on the everyday experiences that make people's lives, the wide-open acoustic guitar-driven song was a feeling he wanted to share.
"I don't care where I've been, everybody has that place," Chesney says. "Everybody tells me about that bar they hung out in, whether it was college or getting out of school, getting out of a marriage - or whatever it was. You went there, and you forgot and laughed and learned a lot about people, who you are... And when you go back, nobody else can see what you did; but you and your friends? You will always know."
When tour mate Eric Church heard Chesney's most personal album, he sent the man who's sold in excess of a million tickets each of his past ten tours a text saying how much he thought of "When I See This Bar." Since then, the pair have performed the song to thunderous response at a few No Shoes Nation stadium shows.
"Eric totally gets what this is," Chesney says. "He's one of those players who've been out on the road, playing the dives, going back where he comes from to remember who he is and why he does this. It's a thing people never think of, because you're just there... But it is the core of who you are. You and those friends, you figure a whole lot out about life in the process, and that - no matter where you are - can't be taken from you."
Edited to remove the verse about what happened to the free spirits Chesney fell in with in the Virgin Islands - "a few have moved on back to Maine, Jacksonville + Key Biscayne/ Some are still living the dream, stuck in still life it seems/ No matter where they've been... or where they are/ I see them all, when I see this bar" -- the second track to go to country radio may be the most universal song of Chesney's career.
"You may not know it at 21, but by 23 or 24, you start sensing it's all changing," Chesney says. "It's not obvious, but you know... and for anyone who's ever been there, this song's for you."