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Denver. Asbury Park. Dallas. Atlanta. Tampa. Green Bay. Perdido Key. Austin. Foxboro. Just some of the places and voices that populate Live in No Shoes Nation, Kenny’s second live album – and one that documents his rise as the nation’s leading stadium headliner. Beyond the massive stadium shows, LiNSN is laced with intimate performances, special guests and songs that have only been performed a handful of times.
“When we came off the road, I started listening to the last 10 years of shows,” Kenny says of the double disc, 30-song set. “What struck me, beyond how much the band has evolved, was the passion of No Shoes Nation! They’re the reason for all of this; why we start rehearsals in January and building sets in the fall, why I give up pasta and every other thing that I love to eat… we want to be ready when it’s time to hit the stage.”
“And listening to show after show, the one thing that never changes is the intensity of the fans. I figure if they’re as caught up in the moment as me and the guys are, they have no idea how awesome they sound. So in many ways, this set is about letting them hear what we get to plug into every single night.”
Starting with the medley of Steve Miller’s “Space Cowboy” and Bob Marley’s “Three Little Birds” with Dave Matthews at the final show of 2007’s Flip Flop Summer, Kenny has patched a collection that traces the hits, the album cuts and the friendships he’s built over the past few years. Whether it’s playing “Flora-Bama” to a packed beach on the Alabama/Florida state line or the hushed one-time only “I’m Alive” from a sold-out, three night stand at Red Rocks, the collection shows the breadth, reach and intimacy Kenney has created on his way to being the only Country Artist on Billboard’s Top 10 Touring Acts of the Last 25 Years.
“We’ve made a lot of music, and a lot of friends,” Kenny enthuses. “They come back year after year, tailgate in the parking lot and sing their lungs out every night for the entire two-hour show. No Shoes Nation lives these songs, and they remind me in very audible and visual ways the way songs can burn into your life and hold memories like nothing else can. Every night when those flickering lights go up during ‘Anything But Mine,’ it makes me pause. And it’s like that with just about every song I’ve ever played onstage.”
For Kenny, crowned “The King of the Road” by The Wall Street Journal and “The People’s Superstar” by the Los Angeles Times, it has always been the fans who matter. It’s why even during a year off, he made his way to Boston for two shows at Foxboro’s Gillette Stadium, where No Shoes Nation was named.
“I can’t tell you the time spent getting the mixes just right, finding the best tracks,” he marvels. “When I think about why I’m doing Live in No Shoes Nation, and who’s going to be listening; to me, everything on these recordings needs to feel exactly as it was when we were all out in the night air loving everything about these songs, being together and being alive.”