Over Kenny Chesney
If Kenny Chesney's new traditional tinged country style leans toward hard rocking pop, blame it on the '70s FM radio and the country rock music coming out of the radio stations in his hometown of Luttrell, TN, a small place just outside Knoxville (also Chet Atkins' hometown). Chesney wasn't one of those kids who grew up with stage parents in Stetsons. He actually stumbled into the realm of country music by accident while studying marketing at East Tennessee State University. He found a guitar under the Christmas tree and was soon playing country and bluegrass with some college buddies. He's one of those rare musicians who got to where he is without the help of any contacts, hook-ups or any Star Search copycat television shows. Chesney climbed his way to the top in the traditional grass roots fashion of constant playing, demo recording, touring and self-promotion. While Chesney's songs maintain the gritty twang of yesteryear's honky-tonk, he has clearly found a balance that suits his songs well -- the scales are tipped toward high-end radio production and polished song hooks. And he has been known to mix in a little beach-twang here and there, a-la Jimmy Buffett.