#1 — Kenny Chesney

At last we are at #1, and my personal favorite Kenny Chesney. He was born Kenneth Arnold Chesney on March 26, 1968 in Knoxville, Tennessee. Son of David and Karen, a school teacher and hair stylist respectively, he was raised in Luttrell Tennessee with his sister Jennifer. He played football and baseball in high school, and went on to attend East Tennessee State University, where he became a brother of the Lambda Chi Alpha Fraternity. It was in college that Kenny really started playing country music, even citing it in “Keg in the Closet” when singing he played his guitar “on that Lambda Chi porch”. He graduated from East Tennessee State University with a degree in advertising in 1990, and went on to become a regular performer at a honky tonk bar named The Turf. From there, the rest is history.

Kenny Chesney has put out 15 albums, 14 of which are at least certified gold. He has also had over 30 top ten singles, 20 of which were number ones. He has been given many awards from an assortment of music associations, including the Academy of Country Music, American Music Awards, Billboard Music Awards, Country Music Association, Country Music Television, People’s Choice Awards and even the French Country Music Awards. He has also dabbled into film, producing and co-directing ESPN’s “The Boys of Fall,” in which he also wrote a song for. The film highlights high school football around the United States, something that clearly hits home for Chesney. He is also considered the most popular touring act out right now, and is basically a boss. To learn more about Kenny Chesney, click here.

Being that Kenny Chesney is my favorite artist, and a majority of my favorite songs are by him, it was very hard narrowing this post down to just a few songs. However, my favorite songs by Kenny are “Live a Little”,  “Out Last Night”,  “Keg in the Closet”, “Young”, “Don’t Blink”, “Ain’t Back Yet”, “I Go Back”, “Back Where I Come From”, “No Shoes, No Shirt, No Problems”, “Reality”, “How Forever Feels”, and “Down the Road”. To view Kenny’s YouTube channel, click here.

“Live a Little” and “Out Last Night” — I coupled these songs together because they both speak about letting loose and having a little fun when needed. In the first song, Kenny sings, “I need to live a little, have some fun/take some time, waste it on number one/find a girl that brings my whole world to a stop/live a little, love a lot”. To me, these lyrics truly show that when needed, Kenny likes to spend time on himself and spend time with a woman who he really respects. This is crucially important to keep in mind moving forward, because getting away and letting loose when needed is absolutely essential for a healthy lifestyle, and so is having someone in your life you really respect. The latter song is about Kenny going out last night. He sings, “yeah, we went out last night/one thing started leading to another/out last night/getting to know everybody and their mother/there were two karaoke girls drunk on a dare/singing “I Got You Babe” by Sonny and Cher/yeah, life was good everywhere/we went out last night”. This song really shows how going out can be a ton of fun, which is also very important to keep in mind moving forward. To watch the music videos for these songs, click here and here.

“Keg in the Closet” — This song truly talks about my college experience. Kenny sings, “we had a keg in the closet, pizza on the floor,/left over from the night before/where we were going we didn’t really care we had all we ever wanted,/and that keg in the closet”. These lyrics are very indicative of my college experience, from waking up with pizza on the floor to the keg in the closet. Also, being that I am ever so close to graduation, the lyrics speaking about not caring and having all we ever wanted may be true for the next couple of weeks, but in the end it will come to an end and I will have to move on from this free and easy life I call college. To watch this music video, click here.

“Young” and “Don’t Blink” — These songs are coupled together because they both speaking about being young. The first song talks about being young, and how it felt then compared to now. Kenny sings, “man I don’t know/where the time goes/but it sure goes fast/just like that we were/wanna be rebels who didn’t have a clue/with our rock n’ roll t-shirts/and our typically bad attitudes/had no excuses for the things that we’d done/we were brave, we were crazy, we were mostly/young , young, young/yeah wishin’ we were older/young/hey I wish it wasn’t over”. He talks about being young and how it felt then, how he wished he was older at the time, and now he wishes it wasn’t over. This is crucial as I get older, I have to cherish these moments when I still have time for all the fun, stupid and ridiculous nonsense before I am too old to get away with it. The second song is about a man older in life, reminiscing about his life, and also giving some pointers as how to live while still young. Kenny sings, “I was glued to my TV when it looked like he looked at me and said/“best start putting first things first”/cause when your hourglass runs out of sand/you can’t flip it over and start again/take every breathe God gives you for what it’s worth/don’t blink/just like that you’re six years old and you take a nap and you/wake up and you’re twenty-five and your high school sweetheart becomes your wife/don’t blink/you just might miss your babies growing like mine did/turning into moms and dads next thing you know your “better half”/of fifty years is there in bed/and you’re praying God takes you instead/trust me friend a hundred years goes faster than you think/so don’t blink”. This is important to understand moving forward, even though not blinking is humanly impossible, I know that I have to live life to the fullest every moment I can. To check out the videos for these songs, click here and here.

“Ain’t Back Yet”, “I Go Back” and “Back Where I Come From” — I put these songs together because they speak about early life and what that means moving forward. In the first song Kenny sings, “lookin’ back at the moments, black white/I wouldn’t change a thing that changed my life/for the worse, for the better/man, I was gone, gone forever/the laughs, the smiles, the trials, the tears/it’s hard to hate what got me here/what got me here”. In this song, Kenny sings about how he is gone and “ain’t back yet”, however it is also his way of remembering everything that got him to where he is now. The second song is about how Kenny remembers certain moments in his life when he hears a certain Billy Joel song. Kenny sings, “we all have a song that somehow stamped our lives/takes us to another place and time/so I go back to a pew, preacher, and a choir/singin’ about God, brimstone and fire/and the smell of Sunday chicken after church/and I go back to the loss of a real good friend/and the sixteen summers I shared with him/now “Only the Good Die Young” stops me in my tracks/and every time I hear that song/I go back, I go back”. Billy Joel’s “Only the Good Die Young” reminds him of his childhood friend, whom he spend 16 years with. This is important to remember moving forward, not because I have lost my good childhood friend, but because things happen quickly in life, and there is no telling what is around the corner. Therefore, you have to cherish what you have while you have it. The last song speaks about remembering where he came from. In this song written by Mac McAnally for Kenny Chesney, Kenny sings, “back where I come from /where I’ll be when it’s said and done /I’m proud as anyone/that’s where I come from”. This is important to keep in mind moving forward because no matter who I am as I get older, there is only one place that I come from, and that place has made me who I am today, and therefore I can never forget it. To check out these music videos, click here, here and here.

“No Shoes, No Shirt, No Problems” and “Reality” — The first song is about getting away from the everyday mundane in order to recharge and recuperate. Kenny sings, “I’ve been up to my neck workin 6 days a week/wearin holes in the soles of the shoes on my feet/been dreamin of gettin away since I don’t know/ain’t no better time than now for Mexico/no shoes, no shirt, no problems/blues what blues? Hey I forgot ‘em/the sun and the sand and a drink in my hand with no bottom,/and no shoes, no shirt, n’ no problems”. This video also plays another role in my life besides giving me advice for my future, it is the song I sang for my sign language final. The second song is Kenny singing about getting away from reality when needed. He sings, “reality, yeah, sometimes life/ain’t all that it’s cracked up to be/so let’s take a chance and live this fantasy/’cause everybody needs to break free from reality”. These lyrics really show that when you need to get away and maybe be someone else for a time, you should do so in order to keep yourself rested and sane. To watch these songs’ music videos, click here and here.

“How Forever Feels” and “Down the Road” — These two songs speak about love in the future. In the first song Kenny sings, “saved two months, bought a little diamond/tonight’s the night, feels like perfect timin’/down on one knee on momma’s front steps,/man I’m gonna die if she really says yes/I wanna know how forever feels/I’ve been around the block a time or two/done almost everything a boy can do/I’ve done some livin’, yeah I’ve had fun/but there is one thing that I haven’t done”. The thing that he hasn’t done is spending his life with a woman he loves. I want a wife and kids in the future. Another song like the previous one is “Down the Road”. In the song, Kenny likes a girl who lives “down the road”, and when he eventually asks her out, “her momma wants to know/am I washed in the blood or just in the water/her daddy wants to know/if I make enough to take his daughter/down the road”. Later in the song, it is Kenny’s daughter that likes a boy down the street, and of course it is the same thing. But now, Kenny and his wife are the ones who want to make sure that the boy is clean, trustworthy and dependable. This is important to keep in mind moving forward, as I want to have a little girl of my own. The music videos for these songs can be found below.

#2 — Zac Brown Band

Zac Brown Band was formed in 2004, and is the only band that will be discussed in this blog. The band is centered around main guitar and vocalist Zac Brown, perhaps where they got their name from. Zac Brown was born on July 31, 1978 in Cumming, Georgia, and is one of 14 children. At 6 years old, he learned to play classical guitar, and started playing solo when he was in high school. He went on to attend the University of West Georgia, where he became a brother of the Kappa Alpha fraternity. However, shortly after the attacks on September 11 the decided that life was too short to do something he did not love, and therefore he dropped out of college to pursue a career in music.

Formed in Atlanta in 2004, Zac Brown Band originally consisted of Zac Brown as the lead guitar and vocalist, a drummer and bass guitarist. However, the band has grown to Zac Brown (epic beard, lead vocals, guitar, bass guitar and percussion), Jimmy De Martini (fiddle and vocals), John Driskell Hopkins (bass guitar, guitar and vocals), Coy Bowles (guitar and keyboards), Chris Fryar (drums) and Clay Cook (guitar, keyboards, mandolin, steel guitar and vocals). By putting a blues feel into their version of country music, Zac Brown Band has created a whole new type of country music following, even drawing fans who do not like country music. Because of this, they have become extremely popular, attaining eight number one singles including “As She’s Walking Away”, “Chicken Fried”, “Colder Weather”, “Free”, “Highway 20 Ride”, “Keep Me In Mind”, “Knee Deep”, and “Toes”. To learn more about Zac Brown Band, click here.

My favorite songs by this group are “Knee Deep”, “As She’s Walking Away”, “Toes”, “Chicken Fried”, and “No Hurry”. To check out their YouTube channel, click here.

“Knee Deep” — This song conveys the feelings of relaxing, unwinding and letting loose and getting away from the stresses of life. In this duet with Jimmy Buffett, they state that they want to “put the world away for a minute”, and wish they were “knee deep in the knee deep in the water somewhere/got the blue sky breeze blowing wind through my hair/only worry in the world is the tide gonna reach my chair”. To be in such a relaxed state that the only worry in the world is whether the “tide gonna reach my chair”, I must be in a good place. In the future, I want to be able to get away from the stresses of life. To check out what I had to say about this song in my post about Jimmy Buffett, click here. To check out the music video for this song, click here.

“As She’s Walking Away” — This song featuring Alan Jackson is about the regret that we all have when we don’t pursue what we want. There is truly nothing in the world that comes free, and for all those things that we have decided not to pursue, I am sure we all feel some sort of regret for not doing so. In the song, Alan Jackson sings, “you might fall down on your face/roll the dice and have some faith”. This is true because no matter what it is, it never hurts to give it a try. This song talks about a girl, but can be applied to most situations in life. To check out what I had to say about this song in my post about Alan Jackson, click here. To watch the video for this song, click here.

“Toes” — Talk about a relaxing song, this one starts with the lyrics, “I got my toes in the water, ass in the sand/not a worry in the world, a cold beer in my hand/life is good today, life is good today”. This is about simply getting away and laying in the sun where nothing matters and nothing can go wrong. At the end of the song, Zac Brown changes the lyrics to “I’m just gonna drive up by the lake/and put my ass in a lawn chair, toes in the clay/not a worry in the world, a PBR on the way/life is good today, life is good today”. These ending lyrics are one of my favorites simply because one of my favorite brews is PBR. In my future, I want to be able to not have a care in the world, and just sit back with a cold brew in front of some beautiful scenery. To watch the video of this sing, click here.

“Chicken Fried” — This song truly has a down home feeling to it. He starts out the song with, “You know I like my chicken fried/cold beer on a Friday night/a pair of jeans that fit just right/and the radio up/I like to see the sunrise/see the love in my woman’s eyes/feel the touch of a precious child/know a mother’s love”. This song really comes from the heart. It speaks about who you are on the inside, Zac Brown sings, “its funny how it’s the little things in life that mean the most/not where you live, what you drive, or the price tag on your clothes/there’s no dollar sign on a piece of mind this I`ve come to know”. To me, the best part of this song is when he sings, “I thank god for my life/and for the stars and stripes/may freedom forever fly, let it ring/salute the ones who died/the ones that give their lives so we don’t have to sacrifice/all the things we love/like our chicken fried”. As I go on in life, I always want to make sure I truly know who I am on the inside. To check out the music video for this one, click here.

“No Hurry” — This song talks about a time when you have so much to do, but instead of just rushing to get everything done, you decide to take your time and get through the day on your own watch. Zac Brown sings, “you know my old car needs washing/and the front yard needs a trim/and the telephone keeps ringing/and the bossman knows I know it’s him/and the bills ain’t gonna pay themselves/no matter anyway/cause I ain’t in no hurry today”. Instead, he decides, “there’s nothing wrong with an old cane fishing pole/and the smell of early spring/sit down in a fold-up easy chair/on a quiet shady river bank/let the world go on without me/wouldn’t have it any other way/cause I ain’t in no hurry today”. I am not saying that just blowing off work is a good thing to do, but as I get older I hope to keep in mind the importance of taking time for myself when needed. Being a public relations major, my field is all fast paced, and being in no hurry once in a while will be beneficial to me. I have even sung this song in my head when I play on the golf course. The music video for this song can be found below.

#3 — Brad Paisley

Brad Paisley was born on October 28, 1972 to Doug and Sandy Paisley. Raised in Glen Dale, West Virginia, Paisley started playing guitar at 8 years old. By 10, he was performing at a variety of events including Mother’s Day and Christmas parties. He wrote his first song when he was 12, titles “Born on Christmas Day”. After hearing him play that song, Paisley was invited to open for country stars like Ricky Skaggs and George Jones on the radio show “Jamboree USA”. Paisley went to Belmont University in Nashville, Tennessee, and one week after graduating with a degree in Music Business, he was offered a contract at EMI Records.

Now, Paisley is revered for his mixture of country and Southern rock. He was the CMA and ACM Male Vocalist of the Year in 2008. He has had a successful career releasing 7 albums, with 16 number one singles, and also won the Entertainer of the Year award in 2010. To learn more about Brad Paisley, click here.

My favorite songs by Brad Paisley are “Old Alabama”, “This is Country Music” and “Letter to Me”.

“Old Alabama” — This is a song with a very fun feel to it, yet one that pays respect to artists who paved the way for artists today. This song features one of country music’s greats, Alabama. In the song, Paisley sings, “now we’re listenin’ to old Alabama,/drivin’ through Tennessee/a little Dixieland Delight and It Feels So Right,/it’s Love In The First Degree-ee-eee!” Here, Paisley is talking about how the good old songs by Alabama are truly what he loves to listen to. Later in the song, Alabama sings, “play some back home come on music that comes from the heart,/play something with lots of feeling, ‘cause that’s where music has to start”. This shows their belief of where music should come from, and where their music came from. It is important to remember your roots, where you came from, and what made you who you are today. To watch the music video for this song, click here.

“This is Country Music” — This is Brad Paisley’s way of telling what country music is to him, and to all who listen to it. He describes how country music is written and sang, but more importantly describes the people who listen to it. He sings, “do you like to drink a cold one on the weekend and get a little loud/do you wanna say I’m sorry or I love you but you don’t know how/and do you wish somebody had the never to tell that stupid boss of yours to shuve it next time he yells at you/well this is country music and we do/so turn it on, turn it up, and sing along/this is real, this your life in a song/yeah, this country music”. I think the moving part of the song is when Paisley sings, “are you haunted by the echo of your mother on the phone/cryin’ as she tells you that your brother is not comin’ home/if there’s anyone that still has pride in the memory of those that died defending the old red, white and blue/well this is country music and we do”. This song pays homage not only to country music, but moreover to its fans. Here, it is important to give thanks and pay homage to those who keep you going and who make you who you are. To view the music video for this song, click here.

“Letter to Me” — This song is about Brad wanting to write a letter to himself when he was younger, so that his wisdom at the current time could lead his youthful endeavors. Throughout the song he lists situations that he had gotten himself into when he was 17 years old, and gives advice to himself on what to do about it. He states, “I know at 17 it’s hard to see past Friday night/she wasn’t right for you/and still you feel like there’s a knife sticking out of your back/and you’re wondering if you’ll survive/you’ll make it through this and you’ll see/you’re still around to write this letter to me”. One of the cooler parts of the song is when he states, “each and every time you have a fight/just assume you’re wrong and dad is right” and when he sings, “P.S. go hug Aunt Rita every chance you can”. This song represents the advice he would give himself to guide himself. I don’t have a chance to write a letter to me when I’m younger, no one does. So I think this song is really important and that I want to do my best to get it right the first time. The music video for this song can be found below.

#4 — Jimmy Buffett

Born James William Buffett on December 25, 1946, Jimmy Buffett is one of the most famous country music stars, most known for his portrayal of a completely laid-back lifestyle. Born in Mobile, Alabama, he played trombone as a kid in his school band. He then moved to Fairhope, Alabama, where he admits it is his home town. As he grew up, he decided that guitar was more fitting for him, playing throughout Pearl River Community College, The University of Southern Mississippi, and Auburn University. He graduated from Auburn in 1969 with a degree in journalism. After graduation, he worked for Billboard magazine in Nashvile, Tennessee.

Jimmy Buffett lives with his second wife, Jane Slagsvol, and his three kids Savannah Jane, Sarah Delaney and Cameron Marley in Palm Beach, Florida. He lives near Margaritaville, an island near the Keys where he makes his own brand of beer, Landshark, one of my personal favorites. Buffett owns his own plane, a Dassault Falcon 900 aircraft with identifier N208JB, that he uses to travel from location to location when on tour. He is most famous for “Cheeseburger in Paradise” and “Margaritaville”, and even owns a chain of restaurants named after these two songs, Margaritaville Cafe and Cheeseburger in Paradise. To learn more about Jimmy Buffett, click here.

My favorite songs by Jimmy Buffett are “It’s Five O’Clock Somewhere”, “Knee Deep”, and “Margaritaville”.

“It’s Five O’Clock Somewhere” — This song was mentioned in a previous post, #6 — Alan Jackson. It is a song that really conveys a feeling of relaxing and unwinding from the stress of life. Alan Jackson and Jimmy Buffett use the phrase “it’s five o’clock somewhere” to justify their reasoning for unwinding and letting loose. To view the post about Alan Jackson, click here. To check out the music video for this song, click here.

“Knee Deep” — This song is much like the last because it is a song that conveys the same feeling of relaxing, unwinding and letting loose. This song is about getting away from the stresses of life. In this duet with Zac Brown Band, they both state that they want to “put the world away for a minute”, and both wish they were “knee deep in the knee deep in the water somewhere/got the blue sky breeze blowing wind through my hair/only worry in the world is the tide gonna reach my chair”. I have to say, if the only worry that I have is if the tide is going to reach my chair, then I must be in a pretty good and relaxed state. In my future, I want to be able to get away from the stresses of life and truly have no worries when I need to. To watch the music video for this song, click here.

“Margaritaville” — This song, the third song in a row conveying a message of relaxation, is yet another one of Jimmy Buffett’s signature songs. In the song he sings, “nibblin’ on sponge cake/watchin’ the sun bake/all of those tourists covered with oil/strummin’ my six-string/on my front porch swing/smell those shrimp they’re beginnin’ to boil”. This opening lyric really shows that Jimmy was in a relaxed state when writing this song. The main chorus lyrics is “wastin’ away again in Margaritaville”, which really shows that he is just relaxing and letting time pass by. This is certainly something I want to be able to do as I get older, most likely after I retire. The music video for this song can be found below.

#5 — Garth Brooks

Named after his father, Troyal Garth Brooks was born on February 7, 1962 in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Coincidently, on that same day in Liverpool, England, a band that had just started was playing in the Cavern Club a few months before they would forever be known as The Beatles. Garth’s parents would host talents night every week, at which he was required to participate. This is where he learned to sing and play both the guitar and banjo. However, his main focus as a child was athletics. He played football, baseball and also ran track and field. He was awarded a track scholarship to Oklahoma State University in Stillwater. Garth would compete in the javelin and then graduated in 1984 with a degree in advertising.

1984 was when he started his professional music career, mostly performing in the Tumbleweed in Stillwater, Oklahoma. Exposed to a wide range of music, Garth admits he listened to rock and was influenced by Dan Fogelberg, James Taylor, and Townes Van Zandt. However after listening to “Unwound”, the debut song by George Strait, Garth decided he wanted to play country music. Garth Brooks easily became the most famous country music artist to ever live, becoming a member of the Grand Ole Opry only a year and a half after his first album’s debut. He fused rock into country, and gained an immense following for it. He has the most gross album sales, and sold primarily all of his albums as CDs, as he was popular before iTunes became the top choice site to attain music. Garth is the best selling artist by way of albums since 1991 and the second best selling artist by way of singles, he has sold 68,561,000 albums, a number that is still growing today. He has six albums that have risen to diamond status, which are Garth Brooks (10 times platinum), No Fences (17 times platinum), Ropin’ the Wind (14 times platinum), The Hits (10 times platinum), Sevens (10 times platinum) and Double Live (21 times platinum). He is also the recipient of over 30 prestigious awards for his musical career. He retired from music in 2001, but has made a comeback in 2009, playing at the Encore Hotel on the Vegas Strip. To learn more about Garth Brooks, click here.

The songs that I identify most with are Garth’s “We Shall Be Free”, “Much Too Young (To Feel This Damn Old)”, “Two Pina Coladas”, and “Longneck Bottle”.

“We Shall Be Free” — This song is about freedom, and the way that Garth hopes the world will be one day. I feel that this song sings true along the same lines as Martin Luther King’s “I Have a Dream” speech. Garth talks about a free place where there is absolute peace and where “we all walk hand in hand”. This is quite impossible honestly, however it is something that I feel we should constantly strive to and is also something I want to strive to as I move on in life. To view this music video, click here.

“Much Too Young (To Feel This Damn Old)” — The gist of this story is told by the name of the song itself. He sings about the “highway” that he is on, the highway of life, and that fact that it is getting longer, as if to allude to the fact that life seems like it is getting longer and tougher. He constantly stated that “I’m much too young to feel this damn old”. I don’t feel like this yet, but I know that most people go through it, and therefore I know that it is a part of life. To view the music video for this song, click here.

“Two Pina Coladas” and “Longneck Bottle” — These two songs talk about when Garth has had went through bad times in his life, and he likes to get away with a Pine Colada or a longneck bottle. I do not condone drinking simply because I am going through something bad or I am having a bad day, however, I am a fan of letting loose every once in a while. These songs’ music videos can be found below.