When Kenny Chesney decided to take some of the songs he’d written for himself and his friends and turn them into Life On A Rock, his most personal project yet, he wanted to capture the pieces that give him balance in his fast-paced life. He started going to the Virgin Islands long before his career took off and there, he met Gretchen Rhodes, a young woman sitting on a stool playing music who shared his musical dreams.
“The thing about Gretchen is that she had this voice that you could hear in a room,” Kenny said. “When she’d sing, people would turn around to see who it was… and she could keep folks there all night, just listening to her songs. I know: my friends and I used to go down to this beach bar a lot and listen to her play.”
Part of Kenny’s original group of free-spirited island friends, Gretchen has followed her music to Los Angeles, back to the islands and then to Hawaii where she currently lives and makes music. Kenny brought her in to sing on Life On A Rock to add truth to his songs and serve as an authentic piece of the islands that mean so much to him and are captured within his new music.
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“To sit on a stool and play music because you love it, because you have songs to sing, that’s the mark of a music person,” Kenny said. “Gretchen has always had that! She is as good as they come, has a voice that’ll stop you – and no matter what happens, she’s going to be making music, because that’s who she is.
“I was just glad we could make this work, because she’s so much a piece of my life and that circle of friends,” he continued. “We may live physically so far apart, but the fact that we did, it tells you so much how much it really is just one world.”
Kenny recorded Life On A Rock in London, Los Angeles, Jamaica and Nashville before making his way way to Hawaii to add Gretchen’s vocals. Life On A Rock hits stores on April 30.