Sunday, February 20, 2011


Kenny Chesney was in Knoxville a few days ago, hosting a premiere of his latest sports documentary: "The Color Orange: The Condridge Holloway Story." Kenny was joined by a number of University of Tennessee alumni, including former quarterback Peyton Manning, and a number of ESPN hosts and analysts, including Kirk Herbstreet. Kenny spoke to us outside the historic Tennessee Theater about making this latest film, as well as his upcoming tour and ACM nominations.

What is it about this story you wanted to tell? The fact that it hadn’t been told before was something I couldn’t believe. Condridge being the figure he was, and broke such a racial barrier, and nobody recognized it. Anytime you do something first, you pay a price, and Condridge handled it with such grace and style, and with such a positive attitude and it was inspiring to me. He was such an athlete, he was Michael Vick in 1972 and 73. We know the stats, but I wanted everyone to know what kind of person he was, how humble he was, and odds were against him becoming that person. That’s why when ESPN asked us to do this, that’s why I wanted to do this film, to show people what kind of person he is.

How did it change you? Lotta people say he didn’t play in the NFL, the NFL didn’t give him a chance, but he didn’t focus on what he didn’t have. He focused on what he had, and was thankful for it. There are so many life lessons in Condridge’s story We all have adversity, we all have hurdles, I certainly have. I don’t think I handled it as well as Condridge did his. Making this film makes me wanna be a better person, and it was a gift from God ESPN asked us to do this. I would have done this anyway because he was such a huge sports figure in my life. Condridge Holloway is the reason that I love sports in the first place, so to be able to tell this man’s story, and apply it to your life, I didn’t expect that. But in ways it was a God-send.

We finished Boys of Fall film in August, and the part they loved was my connection with Condridge Holloway. When they saw what he meant to college football, and they saw he meant so much to me that I wore his orange #7 jersey to get my school picture made in, that was important to them, and they wanted to make that connection. When ESPN called me, we’d just finished Boys of Fall, and I was gonna take the next 3 months off and learn how to surf before I went back on tour. Then they said we want you to make a film on Condridge Holloway, but we want it to air in February. I was sitting with my feet in my pool, but realized I had to do this. We had a chance to make a film that was gonna mean a lot to generations of people who were invested in college football and understood Condridge’s journey. That was more important than us being tired. Once we got into it, it gave me more energy. So I’m so glad we did it.

Would you do another one? I didn’t know we were going to do Boys of Fall. It became an expensive obsession, but if you told me in 09, I’d say you were crazy. I made two films because I made too films I was passionate about. I don’t know what else that would be. If a story comes along that we can sink our teeth into, that we’re passionate about, it might be sports, but never say never. I enjoy the process, and we work well together, I enjoy taking an idea and bringing it to life on screen. It may take several years if we do it again. I gotta go on tour. I gotta think about that.

Have you rested? I have, I feel like I’ve had time off. I don’t feel like I stopped, but I’ve had mentally time away. I’m ready to go back out, I miss the energy, I miss the excitement from the first note of every night, the band’s anxious, sounding better than ever, working hard to rehearse, to have the love affair we experience with the fans is second to none, but that’s why I feel we needed the time off, I needed to protect that at any cost. Now we’re ready to go back.

ACM nomination for Album & Single: I’m very proud of them, the fact that the album was nominated, I took a lot of extra time with Hemingway’s Whiskey. I had a whole nother album done, but knew it wasn’t right. I scrapped all of it except Boys of Fall, Somewhere With You, and a song called Seven Day. But I was afforded, because I didn’t tour, I was afforded the luxury of time. That’s why I’m excited about the album nomination.

Friday, February 4, 2011


We got a chance to speak with Faith Hill last week in Nashville. She has several things to talk about, including this weekend's Super Bowl and her CMT Crossroads special with the Pretenders. While she is in Dallas for the Crossroads, she told me she'll return to Nashville Sunday for a Super Bowl party at home with family and friends.

Who is your pick for the Super Bowl? The Green Bay Packers. I don’t know why I’ve chosen the Packers, both teams could walk away with the big prize. I think it’s going to be a close game, but I have a feeling about the Packers, they look so good in the last round of games, really strong, both offense and defense, and I only go by feeling. My picks don’t have anything to do with strategy, it’s just a gut feeling.

You have heritage with the Packers: Yes, with Brett Favre playing with the Packers for so many years, a fellow Mississippian, but that really isn’t the reason, I just have a feeling they’re going to win.

Saturday night, you will do CMT Crossroads with The Pretenders. What do they mean to you? Oh my gosh, “Brass in Pocket” is like an anthem when I was in high school. “I'll Stand By You” is one of the greatest songs ever written. I always reference that song when I’m preparing for an album or writing, it’s such a powerful lyric. Chrissie has so much attitude, it just oozes out of her, she’s such a stylist, I’ve been living with all of her music for the past few weeks since we decided to do this, but we haven’t had a proper rehearsal yet. It’s a live show, we’ll keep it live, keep it real!

Which song of theirs are you most looking forward to singing? “I'll Stand By You.”

And which song of yours are you looking forward to hearing from her? “Cry.”

Her voice is lower than yours: Yes its much lower but has so much character, but it has so much charcter, she’s a stylist. Her writing, it has a lot of country influence, reminds me of Johnny Cash.,

You just released a new perfume, called True. What kind of person wears True? Someone who wants a fresh clean crisp feeling. It’s floral but not overpowering, so there’s a nice sandlewood musk on the bottom note, which warms it up a little bit, but it’s a floral scent.

Did I notice some lemon? It’s mimosa! There’s a little bit of that. But citrus? The yuzu flower is maybe a little bit, but not much.

I noticed that two hours after I sprayed it, it was still there. Why? That was important to me, cause I wanted women to spray this in the morning headed out the door for work or their day, and not have to reapply it, which happens a lot, so that was important.

How do you do that? Musk helps in that regard to give it longevity. It’s nicer too as they day goes on. It’s soft and clean and fresh.

Let’s say a couple buys their respective McGraw Silver cologne and Faith Hill True perfume. Do the scents work together? Yes actually they do. That’s a very good question! You win the prize today. Yeah they do because they’re not overpowering and they’re not offensive, which is important, especially if you live in a house where both people wear fragrance.

Explain the name True: I just felt it was a representation of first me as a woman, and it’s just genuine. I thought it was a nice strong name.

I understand you’re working on new music, and writing some songs. So talk about writing: I started writing when I first moved to Nashville, and somewhere I stopped writing and I don’t know why. My career was moving so fast, then got married and had children, and didn’t have time for it. But it’s a craft I respect more than anything as an artist, and always have, so it’s not something I assume I can do, so it’s taken a while to get back into the routine of writing. But I’ve written with a lot of people I respect, and it’s been good for my mind, I’m a little upset at myself that I haven’t done this already. But the timing is good. I realized this is what I need to be doing. Because no one knows better what you want to say.