When Tim McGraw and Kenny Chesney were hanging out in each other’s apartments in Nashville 20-years ago, they weren’t dreaming about country superstardom.
“Back then we were just getting over hangovers together and worrying about having enough money for the rent,” McGraw said while calling from his Music City home.
Two decades ago the fledgling singers were looking up to superstar Garth Brooks and just trying to get by but McGraw and Chesney are at the top of the country heap. The longtime friends will perform Saturday at Lincoln Financial Field.
“It’s very special to me,” Chesney said while calling from his Tennessee home. “Tim and I have a bond. Wait until you see what kind of chemistry we have onstage. It’s going to be a special tour. I’m literally counting the minutes until I step on the stage at 8:45 p.m. Wait until you see us perform on this tour.”
McGraw and Chesney will play separate hit-filled sets and close the show with an encore, which will feature the performers trading songs and delivering covers.
“This was designed so that we would have as much fun as we’ve ever had,” McGraw said. “The last 30 or 40 minutes of the set will feature Kenny and I jamming. We’re going to perform each other’s tunes and play some of our favorite songs from other artists.
McGraw will showcase songs from his latest album, ‘Emotional Traffic,’ which is right up there with his 2004 high-water mark, ‘Live Like You’re Dying.’
‘Emotional Traffic’ is McGraw’s most ambitious and disparate release to date. The disc features a duet with Ne-Yo. The R&B singer and the country star nail the moving ballad. There is rock (‘Halo’ is crunchy and catchy), dancehall (‘Felt Good on My Lips’) and of course there is plenty of moving, dramatic and poignant country songs.
“It was intentional to do something different,” McGraw said. “I went in with the intention of making this a watershed album. I wanted to make this great tapestry of music. I wanted to make the kind of album that was made years ago.”
It’s the last album McGraw will make for his longtime label, Curb Records. Last year Curb filed suit against McGraw for recording songs too early prior to its delivery to the label. McGraw counter-sued the label seeking advance payments. A trial with Curb is slated for July. However, McGraw isn’t thinking about legal matters.
“I have this tour to focus on,” McGraw said. “I just wanted to get the new music out quickly. I’m already thinking about the next album.”
The following record will be released by Big Machine Records, which signed McGraw two-weeks ago.
Chesney will preview cuts from his forthcoming album, ‘Welcome to The Fishbowl,’ which will drop next Tuesday (6-19).
The disc is his most direct, emotional album. “This is a really honest album,” Chesney said. “I don’t think I could have put out a record like this earlier in my career. I wanted to put out something honest and I wanted strong melodies and to challenge myself as much as possible. I want to be as good as I can be.”
McGraw shares that credo whether as a singer or as an actor. McGraw, who impressed in such films as ‘Blindside,’ and ‘Country Song,’ is weighing movie options. “There are so many things on the table,” McGraw said. “The hardest part is finding stuff you like. It’s a juggling act but I want to do more film work. I’ll say this. I have immense respect for actors, who get lost in their craft. Watching them do that is a pretty spectacular thing. It’s not easy stepping in front of the camera and becoming someone else. But I don’t have to worry about that now. I’ll get to that later. Right now, I’m just thinking about sharing a stage with my buddy, Kenny. This is going to be a very special summer. I’m doing exactly what I want to do with a very close friend. You can’t ask for much more than this.”
Chesney echoes the sentiments of his buddy. “This is going to be amazing,” Chesney said. “I can’t even say we’re living a dream because who ever dreams that they’re playing stadiums? When we were starting out, the dreams couldn’t have been that big. We’ve surpassed our dreams and we’re just going to go out and have fun. That’s what we’ve had together before anyone knew who we were. Now that people know who we are, we’re still having a good time.”