Country Throwback: Kenny Chesney Brings Out Uncle Kracker to Cover ‘Drift Away’ in 2005

by Emily Morgan

We’re throwing it back to 2005 when Knoxville native and award-winning country star Kenny Chesney performed at the University of Tennessee’s homecoming show with Uncle Kracker. 

That summer, Chesney came back to East Tennessee roots to perform in iconic Neyland stadium. In a video of the performance, you can see thousands of his fans happy to have him back home. 

During the set fans sang along, Chesney and Uncle Kracker covered the classic, “Drift Away.” The song was originally performed by John Henry Kurtz, then made famous by Dobie Gray in the 70s. Then again by Uncle Kracker in the early 2000’s.

Even though he graduated from East Tennessee State University in 1990, Chesney has always been a Tennessee Vols fan. 

A Homecoming Celebration for the Country Singer

UT fans would forever etch Kenny Chesney’s performance as the “Back Where I Come From Party.” It was Chesney’s first time headlining a stadium show. Over the years, the country music star has called this moment in time, his “dream.” 

Speaking directly to the crowd, Chesney told a story about how he became a Vols fan at a young age.

“I sat right up there and watched UT kick Notre Dame’s butt when I was 5 years old.”

He kicked off the show with “Live Those Songs,” a cut from his album, No Shoes, No Shirt, No Problems. He continued with “Never Gonna Feel Like That Again,” a song that warns against taking life’s moments for granted. 

Chesney appeared to be in disbelief throughout the evening. “I’ve been so busy the past couple of days, I can’t believe it’s already here, he told CMT News before the performance. 

“We were a little worried about the rain earlier, but it’s passed through, the sun’s out and there’s 60,000 people here at this stadium to see us play. It’s a great feeling.”

The concert drew 61,780 fans. It was the first concert at the venue since 1984 when Michael Jackson and his brothers brought the Jacksons’ Victory Tour.

During the set, Kenny Chesney brought out former UT quarterback Peyton Manning. Manning joined Chesney on the chorus of “Back Where I Come From.”