Kenny Scores Entertainer of the Year CMA Nom
Acclaimed No. 1 Songs for the Saints; 19 Stadiums, 1.3 Million Fans Rocked
Joins Friend David Lee Murphy for Vocal Event on "Everything's Gonna Be Alright"
Coming off possibly the biggest year in an already singular career, Kenny picked up an Entertainer of the Year nomination for the 52nd annual Country Music Association Awards. Having spent his off year engaged in the rescue and rebuilding efforts in the post-Hurricane Irma and Maria U.S. and British Virgin Islands, Kenny spent his summer on the road with his Trip Around the Sun Tour playing to 1.3 million fans, including 19 stadium shows.
Beyond smashing his own attendance records at many stadiums, the only country artist in Pollstar's Mid-Year Top 10 Tours and Billboard's Top 10 Touring Acts of the Last 25 Years continued humanitarian work with his Love for Love City Fund, writing, curating and recording the intimate Songs for the Saints with all proceeds going to the fund. The No. 1 Billboard Country Album debut also yielded another record: the two-week No. 1 "Get Along" was Kenny's 30th chart-topper, making him the artist with the most No. 1s in Billboard's Country Airplay chart history.
"You don't do this stuff for recognition,” says the always driven songwriter/superstar. "You make music to give people pieces of your life, pieces of their life -- and in this case, to help put a whole lot of lives back together. The idea that music can heal, can give people hope or inspire? The islands always did that for me, but even in the face of such destruction, the willingness to dig in by the locals, that resilience and especially their joy in such dire times taught me a lot about life."
"As for the touring," the man Variety called "Country music’s only long-term stadium act" continued, "it’s hard to believe the fans could be louder, crazier, more passionate, but I can honestly say, having just wrapped two nights at Gillette Stadium, they are. They came out, they sang with everything they had in a way I’ve never heard -- and they showed me again how music can define people’s lives. It’s not just songs they’ve heard, it’s songs they’ve lived."
For Kenny, who also had a No. 1 Top 200 Albums debut with last fall’s Live in No Shoes Nation, the live connection has always been how the 8-time Entertainer of the Year connects his heart to the million-plus people who come out to see him every tour. Always a staunch advocate, Kenny not only co-produced David Lee Murphy’s No Zip Code project, he had the hardcore country songwriter on most of his stadium shows to perform their No. 1 hit "Everything’s Gonna Be Alright." This morning that song became a nominee for Vocal Event of the Year.
“David Lee Murphy was met like a rock star every time he walked out onstage,” Kenny says. “No matter what’s going on in today’s country, those fans knew every word to ‘Dust on the Bottle’ and ‘Party Crowd,’ and they sang ‘em like they mean ‘em. Real voices, artists who live what they write to me are what this music is all about, and that’s David Lee from top-to-bottom.”
A recent Wall Street Journal feature headlined “The New England Patriots’ Other Star” recognized the million fans over 12 summers and 19 shows played at Gillette Stadium, marveling few artists in any genre embody the collective truth of so many people. The Providence Journal called him “one of the industry’s best blue-collar storytellers,” Rolling Stone wrote Saints, “maps a cycle of grief and despair transformed into healing and resilience” and The New York Times’ Jon Pareles opined, “Everything country learned from arena rock is in the mix… the music gives him heroic, wide-open spaces.”