Just Who I Am: Poets & Pirates

Kenny Chesney won America's heart as the fun-loving country boy, the one who schmoozes with Jimmy Buffett and Uncle Kracker for island-hopping party hits. Unfortunately, in Nashville, even the most lovable party boys are expected to grow up and sing about husbandhood, so now it's Chesney's turn. "Shift Work" is a fine duet with George Strait, who has more great songs about husbandhood than Chesney has fingers and toes. But getting serious doesn't really suit him, especially with tedious ballads about finding the Lord ("Never Wanted Nothing More"). He serenades a single-mom stripper in "Dancin' for the Groceries," which has the immortal couplet "In sequinsand in laces/She's dancin' for the braces." But he's more fun covering Dwight Yoakam's "Wild Ride," with a very welcome Joe Walsh busting out some Rocky Mountain voice-box guitar. Now that's our Kenny: the guy who sang "Keg in the Closet" and "Being Drunk's a Lot Like Loving You."