Hemingway's Whiskey

Kenny Chesney grew up in East Tennessee, but his real home is Margaritaville. Chesney is Jimmy Buffett's spiritual godson, specializing in easy-rolling country-pop songs about fleeing the humdrum to go boozing and boating in tropical paradises. "No more building transmissions/He's going deep-sea fishin'," crows Chesney in "Coastal." On his 12th studio album, Chesney serves up the usual carpe diem anthems (the burly "Live a Little") and holds his own with the great George Jones on the rollicking honky-tonk duet "Small Y'all." When the mood turns serious, he slips: He can't muster the gravitas to pull off the title track, a maudlin tribute to Ernest Hemingway. As long as the weather's sunny and the blender's whirring, Chesney's fine company.

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