Kenny Chesney Shares Photo Revealing ‘Start Of My Island Life,’ Happy New Year Message

by Josh Lanier

Kenny Chesney opened 2021 by looking back. The country star shared a photo taken 20 years ago that he says shows the beginning of his “island life.”

The photo features a then 32-year-old Chesney and several friends on top of a boat with the name Low Key. Chesney has said he fell in love with life in the Tropics after visiting the Virgin Islands.

“This boat trip 20 years ago was the start of my island life and so many life long friendships. So many boat trips, so many songs written, so many roads gone down. Happy 01-01-01. I hope your New Year’s Day takes you on a life path like this day on the HEY NOW did for me. Cheers,” he wrote.

A year after that photo was taken, Chesney released No Shoes, No Shirt, No Problem. The album featured hit songs “Young” and “The Good Stuff.” It marks a shift in the Tennessee native’s writing and music style. Similar to Jimmy Buffett, Chesney began to incorporate more island rock elements into his music, which replaced the more traditional country aesthetic of his earlier albums.

That new approach stuck for the albums that followed. It made him one of the most popular country artists of the past 25 years.

Kenny Chesney Ends 2020 on a Sad Note

Kenny Chesney posted a heartfelt note last week after he learned of the death of bluegrass legend Tony Rice on Christmas Day.

“Tony Rice inspired so many including a kid like me from East Tennessee who was in awe of the way he sang and played Me And My Guitar,” Chesney posted to Twitter last week. “I’ll never forget seeing him sing that at the IBMA Bluegrass Festival in Owensboro, Ky. It’s printed in my brain forever! Rest In Peace Tony Rice.”

The Grammy winner is considered one of the greatest bluegrass guitarists of all time. The International Bluegrass Music Association named him Instrumental Performer of the Year for Guitar six times during his career. Though illness and muscle problems kept Rice from performing live since 2013.

He died at his home in Reidsville, North Carolina sometime on Christmas morning. He was 69.