Kenny Chesney made Songs for the Saints as a way to honor not just the Caribbean islands known as the Saints and the spirit of the people who live there, he also wanted to distill the tranquility and peace the songwriter/superstar finds when he disappears into the local habitat that has been his refuge for two decades.
“In the islands, there is a whole other rhythm, a pirate rhythm,” the man The Los Angeles Times named “The People’s Superstar” explains. “It moves with the waves, and the stars and the sun passing across the sky. When Songs for the Saints turned into a project, I started thinking about what this record really was.
“‘Pirate Song’ emerged as a love song to everything the islands have always been: freedom, time slowing down, being calm and at sea. Even when my friends and people I knew were coming through my house after the storms came through, I knew the essence of what those islands are couldn’t be extinguished inside them.”
With all the proceeds of Songs for the Saints going to Chesney’s Love for Love City Foundation, the reserved musician stresses this album isn’t about the destruction and devastation as much as it is the beauty of life in the islands, and the way its people create a life that is their own. It was the sense of friendship and freedom, as well as the unspoiled beauty that drew him as an artist emerging with a perspective wholly his own.
“Anyone who’s got a job, a schedule, a list of responsibilities and people to answer to understands that yearning to be free,” Chesney offers. “This song is about being unplugged, off the grid, sailing where the boat takes you and letting the cares drift away. It’s never that easy, but I love that line about Saint Christopher on a silver chain, say a prayer, and sail away… because it is also that easy if you’ll just surrender.
“That’s why when they asked me to pick a song to send out early, I picked this one. It’s everything I wish for everyone in No Shoes Nation: the ability to let go and melt into the stillness. We all want to be pirates in some way or another. It’s such a romantic idea, so rock & roll, and it’s also so much more – and less.”
Songs for the Saints captures the transformation of vulnerability into unspeakable strength and courage. Tempering the devastation that Hurricanes Irma and Maria left across the bracelet of islands with an unstoppable elation and celebration, it renders the essence of the life he found there – and the deep joy and humanity the residents demonstrate on a daily basis.
With “Get Along,” the banjo-driven what we have in common is greater than what offends us about our differences anthem, sitting Top 5, “Pirate Song” offers the whisper of escape and the stillness of the grace that sets us free. Get it now, from the album to be released July 27.