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Kenny Chesney is taking a year off from touring in 2014. It marks only the second time since 2001 that the country star has not embarked on an annual coast-to-coast concert trek.
“I love touring more than anyone in the world,” Chesney tells The Hollywood Reporter. “I love the band, the crew, the whole team — and it’s weird to not be looking at next year’s stage design, but I shouldn’t make albums to service the tour. So I’m going to put the music first, dial it back and do the strangest thing in the world: not hit the road next summer.”
Chesney, who’s currently in the midst of his massive No Shoes Nation tour, will instead concentrate on a new album, the follow-up to Life on a Rock, which was released in April and has sold more than 322,000 units, according to Nielsen SoundScan. It was also his seventh No. 1 album on the Billboard 200.
“We have so much fun out there … with the fans, the other bands … It’s summer camp with guitars and a great sound system. And when we hit that stage every night, and hear the crowd, that’s the best drug in the world. How you take a year off from that is hard; but music is the reason I do all of it, so right now, when I’m coming off an album that took me places I didn’t know I was gonna go, I think that’s what I should be exploring.”
Chesney is reaching career heights this summer as his 42-stop stadium tour plays for an estimated 1.25 million people (in June, the country singer sold his millionth ticket). He also recently expanded his business portfolio to include a rum line, called Blue Chair Bay, inspired by the Virgin Islands.
But music remains his core interest, and coming off of his most personal effort yet, this 13th studio album is one Chesney wants to take his time with.
“You get to a point when you’ve made a lot of albums and you need to challenge yourself, to really make the record the focus, to ask yourself what you want to say … and not just cut songs because they fit what people expect,” he says. “It’s a lot harder to find those songs than you’d think, and writing takes time — to think, to live, to be.”
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