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No Shoes, No Shirt, No Problems

Kenny Chesney, a man who once sang about his sexy tractor, fancies Hallmark-card country propped up by clean, pop-metal guitars and bright, firecracker drums. In his rich, George Strait baritone, Chesney covers all the contempo-country bases on No Shoes, No Shirt, No Problems: high-school memories (“Never Gonna Feel Like That Again”), Cinderella stories (“Big Star”), easy living (“No Shoes . . .”) and, of course, bittersweet love (“On the Coast of Somewhere Beautiful”). On “Young,” the first single, Chesney sings of being a terrible teen in the years when young boys wore John Cougar Mellencamp T-shirts and acted like “wanna-be rebels who didn’t have a clue.” Look at the photo spread inside, though, and Chesney comes off more like a boy toy than a bad boy. But if you can get past the cheesy album art and mind-numbing Nashville production, Chesney delivers real feeling in some of the songs. “A Lot of Things Different,” written by Music Row vets Bill Anderson and Dean Dillon, is a wistful meditation on regret in which Chesney, over gentle acoustic guitar, talk-sings lines like, “I’d have stood up to that bully when he pushed and called me names/But I was too afraid.” If all of Chesney’s sentimentality felt this real, he’d be more than just another Nashville pretty boy.


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