Music

Hear Kenny Chesney’s Intimate and Reflective ‘Better Boat’

A few months ago, Kenny Chesney announced Songs for the Saints, his 17th studio album, would be released July 27 via Warner Music Nashville. With three new songs already shared — lead single singalong “Get Along,” the resilient title track “Songs for the Saints” and the wistful “Pirate Song” — Chesney now shares the intimate and introspective album closer “Better Boat” featuring harmony vocals from singer-songwriter Mindy Smith.

The new track finds Chesney at his most stark and reflective. Written by Nashville singer-songwriters Travis Meadows and Liz Rose (it appears on Meadows’ 2017 album, First Cigarette), Chesney perfectly captures the slow-paced vulnerability found on the song. Joined by only Mac McAnally on a gut-string guitar and the glowing harmony vocals of Smith, Chesney’s “Better Boat” is as emotionally charged as they come.

Lines like “I ain’t lonely, but I spend a lot of time alone. More than I’d like to, but I’m okay with staying home,” show an individual who’s been broken down. Still, through its confessional manner, “Better Boat” shows a tougher than nails moxie despite the pain. There’s an endurance and fight in Chesney’s vocals that are heartfelt and genuine.

Songs for the Saints, which was co-produced with Buddy Cannon, was largely inspired by the devastation left by Hurricane Irma on the U.S. and the British Virgin Islands last September. More so, even in the wake of devastation, Chesney was moved by the hope, empathy, comradery, and spirit of the people who call the islands their home.

“Of all the songs on there, ‘Better Boat,’ I think really captures the emotion of that moment,” said Chesney in a press release. “There’s an acceptance it takes to face those challenges and that uncertainty…the lyric has that line, ‘I ride the waves I can’t control…’ And that’s exactly how this was, and in some ways, still is.”

All proceeds from the new album will go to Chesney’s Love For Love City Foundation, which has funded rescue and rebuilding efforts in the area. Still, despite the destruction, Chesney stresses that the album is about “the beauty of life on the islands and the way its people create a life that is utterly their own.”

Chesney is currently in the midst of a summer-long tour, aptly named the Trip Around the Sun Tour. It features the likes of other supporting country acts such as Thomas Rhett, Old Dominion and Brandon Lay. For more information and tour dates for The Trip Around the Sun Tour, click here.

“Better Boat” Lyrics

I ain’t lonely
But I spend a lot of time alone
More than I’d like to
But I’m okay with staying home
My how the last few months have changed
I’m smiling more despite the pain

I breathe in
I breathe out
Got friends to call who let me talk about
What ain’t workin’
What’s still hurtin’
And all the things I feel like cussin’ out
Now and then, I let it go
I ride the waves I can’t control
I’m learning how to build a better boat

I hate waitin’
Ain’t no patience in these hands
I’m not complainin’
Sometimes it’s hard to change a man
I think I’m stronger than I was
I let God do what he does

I breathe in
I breathe out
Got friends to call who let me talk about
What ain’t workin’
What’s still hurtin’
And all the things I feel like cussin’ out
Now and then, I let it go
I ride the waves I can’t control
I’m learning how to build a better boat

I breathe in
I breathe out
Got friends to call who let me talk about
What ain’t workin’
What’s still hurtin’
And all the things I feel like cussin’ out
Now and then, I let it go
I ride the waves I can’t control
If it’s working, I don’t know
When I get done the thing may not float
But I’m learning how to build a better boat

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Hear Kenny Chesney’s Intimate and Reflective ‘Better Boat’