Kenny Chesney Reflects On His Favorite Tour Moments & Teases Why Upcoming Here And Now Tour Is "A New Way Of Being Ready To Rock"
Kenny Chesney

Photo: Rick Diamond for Getty Images


Kenny Chesney Reflects On His Favorite Tour Moments & Teases Why Upcoming Here And Now Tour Is "A New Way Of Being Ready To Rock"

On April 23, Kenny Chesney will launch his 19th tour — the Here And Now Tour — at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Fla. The veteran country star looks back on the touring legacy he's built and details what makes his shows so special.

GRAMMYs/Apr 22, 2022 - 02:01 pm

"I can't believe how long it's been since I felt the energy of @noshoesnation in my veins," Kenny Chesney captioned a social media post on April 19. Like many touring musicians, the country star has been off the road since the end of May 2019. But for someone like Chesney, that is a remarkably long time.

Since 1998, Chesney has toured 18 times, never having more than two years in between treks — and he's only done that twice. His extensive touring schedule has become the primary element of his career, making Chesney one of country music's leading road warriors.

Chesney kicks off his 19th tour in Tampa on April 23. Titled the Here and Now Tour — named after his (fittingly) 19th album — the trek has the singer hitting 21 stadiums and 20 amphitheaters across the United States. The roster is as stacked as the schedule: Fellow country hitmakers Dan + Shay, Old Dominion and Carly Pearce will support at the stadium shows (only Pearce will open at the amphitheaters).

Upon the tour's announcement in November, Pearce and Dan + Shay's reactions to being invited out with Chesney showed just how major his tours are. Pearce called it a "bucket list dream,"while Dan + Shay said they've been attending Chesney's tours as fans for more than a decade. "Look for us in the crowd every night singing every word to every song," they wrote.

With a record 31 No. 1s on Billboard's Country Airplay chart, it's no surprise Chesney's tours are so appealing to his fans (dubbed No Shoes Nation, as he referenced in his post) and his openers. And after nearly three years away from the stage, songs like "Beer In Mexico" and "Summertime" may be more impactful than they've ever been.

Ahead of the first Here and Now Tour date, Chesney took a break from rehearsals to chat with via email. He dropped some hints about this year's tour and shared some of his most cherished memories — but perhaps most notably, Chesney made it very clear that he's not letting another three years pass him by.

​​You've said "I was shocked to see how much more these songs could be" because of the power of this year's band. As you've been rehearsing, which songs feel the most elevated? And what's making them more impactful?

If you've been to one of my shows, you know what the power of the band has always been. People are swept up and "in" it. I've been really blessed with my players.

But when you change a few key people, everyone comes to the bandstand with a different charge, a different chemistry. We are all really listening to the songs, hearing them with fresh ears and understanding maybe things we've not heard before.

And after three years, the joy of being on that stage? Playing together? It's the best feeling in the world! We never take it for granted, that energy when we hit the stage. But when you step away for this long, you really feel what's missing.

2019's Songs for the Saints Tour was exclusively in arenas. What makes stadium shows particularly special?

All the shows are special. When we did the Songs for the Saints Tour, it was about recognizing those fans who don't live in stadium markets, who have to travel. I grew up outside Knoxville; I was one of those kids, and I don't forget that stuff. To me, any stage I get to walk out on? It's the best possible show I could do anywhere — and that's what we try to do.

Stadiums, though, have this massive energy. They're built for football games, fans who get loud! That's what they're for, and if you do your set list right, to have all those people together, well, we can lift each other up in ways you can't anywhere else. There's nothing like it: the sound, the staging, the momentum.

When you're really rocking, you can do three miles up there. People don't realize that [a stadium] stage is 220 feet wide, and then you have the strut off the front of it. We cover a lot of ground, see a lot of smiling faces. That's a big part of it: the faces, the voices singing. It's massive to experience.

A tour press release said "With some classics coming off the set list, Chesney's worked up several songs to possibly rotate in." What are some of the classics that will never leave your set list and why?

Never say never. I think that's a dangerous precedent. And the list can change from night to night, especially with the way the lighting's being done this year. 

But what's amazing to me is, even taking some songs out of the basic set list, how many hits remain. I think Billboard has me at 30 or 31 No. 1s, the most on their current chart, and I've had almost as many songs land at No. 2. It's an absolute impossibility that they're all going to be in there. Some songs — and I can think of one [that] people will be surprised we're not doing — can be rested for a tour or two.

This year marks 20 years of No Shoes, No Shirt, No Problems, which spawned the song of the same name that has now become one of your set staples. What does that song mean to you, in terms of both a career song and a live song?

Being free-spirited, carefree. Ocean life. Letting go of everything that stresses you. Sometimes you can't do anything about it, so let go. 

As a career song, I think it's really the album. We'd been building towards or "collecting" the things that really mattered to me, that spoke to my way of living — and finally, there was an album that was absolutely me in that sense. We wanted hits — and "Young" really launched us hard, defined who I was making records for, "The Good Stuff" won the ACM Single of the Year — but it was also this larger picture. 

What people didn't realize back then was how many young people were just like I was. I sang about our life, our escape, our dreams — and it deepened the connection. The fans knew I not only saw them; I was just like them. That authenticity, that bond matters.

When we sing it live, that's a moment where we all really see each other, let go. Every night, I tell No Shoes Nation, "Whatever problems you've got, tonight, just for this evening, leave them out there and come be with us." It's powerful.

Speaking of No Shoes Nation, "No Shoes, No Shirt, No Problem" inspired that name. You officially declared that name for your fans at Gillette Stadium 10 years ago this year. In the 10 years since, how have you seen No Shoes Nation come to life?

No Shoes Nation came to life long before it was named at Gillette Stadium, by my good friend and tour promoter Louis Messina. It came to life in the tailgates in the fields around Coral Sky Amphitheater in West Palm Beach; the Tiki Bars on flatbed trailers people would roll into the parking lots in Columbus, Ohio or around Soldier Field in Chicago or Texas Stadium in Dallas; the people driving tractors to the shows or making friends with the people hanging in the same places. 

It was well-established before we ever thought to name it. But they are a country without borders that inspires me every day, especially during these years of so much uncertainty. Their passion for life and music is amazing. They are some of the best people in the world, they look after each other, and they really care. I can't wait to see all those faces this year.

What are some of your most memorable moments from touring — whether they were on or off stage? 

That's like asking a parent "which child do you like best." I mean, how do you pick?

I remember a young woman getting on stage in a ball cap. I was going to give her the helmet I give someone every night, and she was shaking her head no, holding her hat on. Then I realized: she's got cancer; she's doing chemo. I got it, but I wanted to give her just as much heart back — and all I could think to do was pull off my hat, too. 

So, there we were, with our hats off, no hair, smiling into each other's eyes. She was so beautiful, and so in the moment. I mean, you never forget that. I learned another lesson about the ways we support and live and inspire each other.

One year in Texas, we'd been watching the weather. Those fans are so alive, so at the moment, we didn't want to call the show. The weather report seemed okay. Then the biggest storm rolled in, just drenching us. It was terrible, and we made the decision to call it.

I walked out, wanting to keep people calm and even. I respect my audience, but it's a lot of people. Then I sang "Something Sexy About The Rain" from Be As You Are, my first island record. There's video of it. Talk about perfection in an absolute train wreck moment. But that's the thing about No Shoes Nation — they're so in the moment, too, they just sailed through it with us, went to their cars and got home safe.

Along with an amplified sound, what else is going to feel different about this year's stadium tour?

Just being out there again. We've been in rehearsals, and even more than how much I've missed the road and my road family, when we hear No Shoes Nation start to roar — the way our hearts pound is going to be a new way of being ready to rock.

Thomas Rhett's Road To 'Where We Started,' From Down-Home Roots To Country-Pop Stardom — And Back Again — Before Finding Middle Ground

10 Albums On Divorce & Heartache, From Fleetwood Mac's 'Rumours' To Kelly Clarkson's 'Chemistry'
Kacey Musgraves performs at the 2021 VMAs.

Photo: John Shearer/MTV VMAs 2021/Getty Images for MTV/ViacomCBS


10 Albums On Divorce & Heartache, From Fleetwood Mac's 'Rumours' To Kelly Clarkson's 'Chemistry'

Divorce albums have been a staple of the music industry for decades. Take a look at some of the most notable musings on a breaking heart, from Kacey Musgraves, Kanye West and more.

GRAMMYs/Jun 30, 2023 - 05:46 pm

Divorce can be complicated, messy, and heartbreaking. But those feelings are prime fodder for songwriting — and it's something that artists of all genres have harnessed for decades.

Writing through the pain can serve many benefits for an artist. Marvin Gaye used Here, My Dear as a way to find closure in the aftermath of his divorce. Adele told Vogue that her recording process gave her somewhere to feel safe while recording 30, a raw account of the aftermath of her marriage ending. And Kelly Clarkson's new album, chemistry, finds her reclaiming herself, while fully taking stock of everything that happened in her marriage, good and bad. 

As fans dive into chemistry, has compiled a list of 10 divorce albums from all walks of music. Whether you need to cry, vent, or maybe even laugh, there's a divorce album that has what you need.

Tammy Wynette, D-I-V-O-R-C-E (1968)

During her life, Tammy Wynette was a prolific country songwriter and singer, releasing numerous albums exploring all aspects of love. She was also deeply familiar with divorce, with five marriages throughout her adulthood.

The most intimate album on the topic is her bluntly titled 1968 project D-I-V-O-R-C-E, which explores how sensitive the topic was to speak about. The title track is a mournful tune about hiding a separation from her children, but also conveys the general difficulty of discussing the topic with anyone. Elsewhere on the album, "Kiss Away" is a longing ballad about wishing for a more tender resolution when words have failed.

Fleetwood Mac, Rumours (1977)

After recording 10 albums together, Fleetwood Mac were in disarray. During the recording of their eleventh record, the members of the band were going through affairs, divorces, and breakups, even some with each other. Against all odds, they created Rumours — and it became the band's most successful and iconic album.

The spectrum of emotions and sounds on the album is wide. "The Chain" is all fire and bombast, while the laidback acceptance of "Dreams" seeks to find peace in the storm. Fleetwood Mac sorted out their issues and are still going strong to this day, but their heartbreak created something special in Rumours.

Beck, Sea Change (2002)

Beck has had a prolific career, with 14 studio albums to his name. One of his most affecting is 2002's Sea Change, written in the aftermath of his engagement and nine-year relationship ending.

It's a deeply insular album, even by Beck's standards. Tracks like "Already Dead" are slow and mournful, while standout "It's All In Your Mind" finds him burrowing deep into his own thoughts to parse out how exactly he's feeling with his new life.

Open Mike Eagle, Anime, Trauma, and Divorce (2020)

Divorce isn't a topic that immediately brings laughter, but rapper Open Mike Eagle seemed to find humor in his personal story with his album Anime, Trauma, and Divorce. The album title gives a pretty good rundown of what inspired the project, and Mike's laidback rapping sells how silly the aftermath of pain can be.

"Sweatpants Spiderman" finds him trying to become a functional adult again, and discovering the various ailments of his aging body and thinner wallet that are getting in the way. The fed-up delivery on standout track "Wtf is Self Care" is a hilarious lesson on how learning to be kind to yourself post-breakup is harder than it sounds.

Carly Pearce, 29: Written In Stone (2021)

Heartbreak is a common topic in all genres, but country has some of the most profound narratives of sorrow. Carly Pearce added to that legacy with 29: Written in Stone, her 2021 album centered around her 29th year — a year that included both a marriage and a subsequent divorce.

The emotional whiplash of such a quick change can be felt all over the project, from an upbeat diss track like "Next Girl" to more poignant pieces like the title track, which finds Pearce reflecting on her tumultuous year. Her vulnerability resonated, as single "Never Wanted To Be That Girl" won Pearce her first GRAMMY, and her latest single, "What He Didn't Do," scored the singer her fourth No. 1 at country radio. 

Kanye West, 808s & Heartbreak (2008)

Kanye West's fourth album 808s & Heartbreak came from a deep well of pain. Besides the end of his relationship, West was also in turmoil from the death of his mother, Donda. The result is one of the bleakest sounding records on this list — but also one of West's most impactful.

808s & Heartbreak is minimalistic, dark, and brooding, with a focus on somber strings and 808 drum loops (hence the album's title). West delivers most of his lyrics in a monotone drone through a thick layer of autotune, a stylistic choice that heightens the sense of loss. Besides being a testament to West's pain, the electronic sound pioneered on 808s & Heartbreak would serve as a foundational inspiration for the next several years of hip-hop.

Toni Braxton & Babyface, Love, Marriage, & Divorce (2014)

Toni Braxton and Babyface are two stalwarts of R&B in their own rights, and in 2014, the pair connected over their shared experiences going through divorce. Their bond sparked Love, Marriage, & Divorce, a GRAMMY-winning album that intended to capture the more universal feelings the life of a relationship conjures up.

Each artist has solo tracks on the record — Babyface wishing the best for his ex on "I Hope That You're Okay" and Braxton sharing her justified anger on "I Wish" and "I'd Rather Be Broke" — but where they shine is on their collaborations. The agonizing "Where Did We Go Wrong?" is heartbreaking, and the album ends with painful what-ifs in the soulful "The D Word."

Adele, 30 (2021)

Divorce is hard no matter the circumstances, but it gets even more complicated when children are involved. That was the reality for Adele, and it served as major inspiration for her fourth album, 30.

Like every album on this list, there's plenty of sorrow on the record, but what really sets it apart is just how honestly Adele grapples with the guilt of putting her son Angelo through turmoil as well. The album's GRAMMY-winning lead single "Easy On Me" addresses it in relation to her son, and standout track "I Drink Wine" is a full examination of the messy feelings she went through during her divorce.

Kacey Musgraves, star-crossed (2021)

As many of these albums prove, divorce triggers a hoard of emotions, from anger to sadness to eventual happiness. On star-crossed, Kacey Musgraves goes through it all.

There's the anthemic "breadwinner" about being better on her own, "camera roll" looking back on happier times with sorrow, and "hookup scene" about the confusion of adjusting back to single life. Star-crossed sees Musgraves continue to evolve sonically — incorporating more electronic sounds into her country roots — but ultimately, she comes out the other side at a place of renewed acceptance and growth.

Kelly Clarkson, chemistry (2023)

Kelly Clarkson's tenth album chemistry was born out of her 2020 divorce. In true Kelly fashion, she addresses the subject with thoughtful songwriting and a pop-rock vibe fans have adored for 20 years on. 

Chemistry focuses not just on the pain of divorce, but on the tender feelings that many couples still have for each other even after the end. Tracks like "favorite kind of high" mirror the euphoria of love, juxtaposed with ballads like "me," in which Clarkson finds comfort in herself and her inner strength — an inspiring sentiment for anyone who has had their heart broken.

Kacey Musgraves' Road To 'Star-Crossed': How The Breakup Album Fits Right Into Her Glowing Catalog

Behind Old Dominion's No. 1 Hits: How Kenny Chesney, Food Poisoning & "Ballsy" Moves Created Their Funniest Memories
Old Dominion

Photo: Mason Allen


Behind Old Dominion's No. 1 Hits: How Kenny Chesney, Food Poisoning & "Ballsy" Moves Created Their Funniest Memories

As Old Dominion's latest single "Memory Lane" continues climbing the charts, the country group's Matthew Ramsey and Trevor Rosen look back on the memorable moments behind hits like "Break Up With Him" and "One Man Band."

GRAMMYs/Jun 29, 2023 - 06:18 pm

Old Dominion never intended to be a band. Initially a friend group of aspiring songwriters in Nashville, they formed a collective in 2007 to showcase their individual songs. More than 15 years later, they've become one of country's biggest groups.

With seven No. 1s on Billboard's Country Airplay chart, Old Dominion have proven to have a knack for writing catchy songs. But they don't need stats to show their skill — whether it's the clever juxtapositions of "Written in the Sand" or the bittersweet metaphors of their most recent single "Memory Lane," their songwriting is as charming as it is thought-provoking. Match that with their earworm melodies, and it's almost hard to believe they never thought "this band thing" would take off.

"It took us a while to have confidence in what we were doing, and to make our priority when we sit down to write music [that] we're writing for us," frontman Matthew Ramsey says. "We knew what we were trying to achieve, but then our fans sort of showed us what we are — and that is, a joyous, very genuine thing. And that's what's grown."

The name of their 2023 tour embodies that sentiment: No Bad Vibes. That's also indicative of the energy Ramsey and bandmate Trevor Rosen brought when they sat down with, reflecting on their biggest songs with nothing but joy.

Just before Old Dominion released their latest project, the eight track EP Memory Lane — which Rosen teases "is part of a bigger project coming pretty soon" — the pair shared the hilarious and heartfelt memories behind the band's most beloved songs.

"Break Up with Him" (2015)

Rosen: "Break Up With Him" was our first No. 1, it brought us to the proverbial dance. A vivid memory of writing that song: We were playing at a Kohl's company picnic for like 500 bucks in the middle of, what was it, Ohio?

Ramsey: They had hired us to play a, like, lunchtime company picnic. [Laughs.]

Rosen: Most of the people there didn't know who we were or particularly care, but the memorable part of this day was, we were soundchecking, and just started noodling that groove to "Break Up With Him." We just thought it sounded cool, and I think I held my phone up and recorded a snippet of it. 

We were driving in the little Ford Econoline van  to get to the next gig that night, and it seemed like everyone was asleep. I was on the back bench not yet asleep, and I saw Matt's head pop up over the bench to see if I was awake. He was like, "I was thinking about that song we started writing today… I had this idea for a one-sided phone conversation." 

For the next hour, maybe, he just threw out [ideas] like, "Hey, girl, what's up?" And we're whispering because we don't want to wake anybody else in the van up, and we're just like, cracking each other up with these little one-liners. I think we had all the verses and the hook written by the time we got to the next town.

Ramsey: We were at the musicians union in Nashville kind of working that song out, playing it through, and I remember we called Shane [McAnally], and we're like, "You have to come hear this song." We played it for him and he was just like, "What is this?" 

At that point, we were very much active in the songwriting world. We were still getting cuts and having hits on the radio with other people, and pitching essentially everything we wrote. That was the first song that we were like, "Don't let anybody hear this. This one is ours."

Rosen: That helped define that sort of clever, sarcastic fun side of us that maybe we hadn't shown as much up to that point — we had shown more of the rock side, and the good songwriting side. I think we realized right away, "Oh, we can shock people into listening to us and show off that side of us." I think it helped define what we were as a band.

"Song for Another Time" (2016)

Ramsey: The moment that stands out for me is when  we first played it at a soundcheck as a band. It was written on the road, and we pitched it to Kenny [Chesney], and Kenny said, "This is great, but you should record it."

Rosen: It was [maybe] a polite way to turn the song down. [Laughs.]

Ramsey: That was the beginning of the level of care that he has for us, and the influence he has on us. He is invested in our career, and that was the first moment that he sort of showed that. 

We hadn't even thought of ["Song For Another Time"] in that light yet, because in our minds, we were done recording the album. So there was no sense in even considering it yet, because at that point, who knows what's gonna happen with our career. 

We were soundchecking to a big empty stadium and we thought, Well, if [Kenny] says we should record it, let's just try and play it and see what it feels like. And, you know, something about a giant PA system and a stadium — the light bulbs were going off. We came off the stage and back onto the bus after the soundcheck, and called our manager and said, "Hey, we need to fly home and record one more song." We flew home, we recorded that one song, and then we flew back out onto tour.

Rosen: The fact that we were able to squeeze that in was kind of crazy. I also remember, we were in Seattle when it went No. 1. We were in this little bar called The Hideout, Matthew and I and our tour manager at the time, Tommy Garris. They had this cool thing where if you order a drink you got a Polaroid picture with it. So we ordered a drink, and they took a Polaroid of us holding up the No. 1 sign.

"No Such Thing as a Broken Heart" (2017)

Ramsey: That song has become one our favorite moments in the set, just because it's such a different feel. And that was one of the first times where we felt comfortable showing our hearts a little bit, and not just trying to craft a plain ol' hit song. It kind of stemmed from our discussions after the Pulse shooting in Orlando.

That song is always going to be relevant. We're always going to have these opportunities to use that song for good. And I always say before we play it, that's the song that we bring to sing with you, not to you. Because I truly feel like there's power in those words.

We were playing in Virginia Beach, and there was again, unfortunately, another shooting that day, just miles down the road, some police officers were killed. So we went on stage that night, and it was kind of a heavy vibe. I spoke to the crowd and said, "This is what this is for. This is why we felt like writing the song, and so here we are. Together, let's try and create some sort of healing if we can."

When the song is over, we always sing that chorus again with the crowd as loud as possible, and it always is this magical moment — you can just feel everybody take a breath.

Rosen: On the lighter side, we played it on the ACM Awards one year. Before we went on, Matthew was joking around, and instead of [singing] "You can't keep the ground from shaking," he was like, [sings] "You can't keep Luke Bryan from shaking." Luke was the host, and he heard it, and he goes — what did he say?

Ramsey: He said, "You don't have a hair on your ass if you don't say that on the TV show." So we did.

After we walked off stage, he was backstage waiting on us, and he was like a kid that had just won the Little League World Series. 

"Written in the Sand" (2017)

Rosen: It's one of my favorite songs that we've put out. I remember the day we wrote it. You had written down "stars or the sand." It was like, "That's a really cool juxtaposition."  It was fun to sit there and try to come up with the metaphors and be our clever selves.

For some reason when we first recorded that, I wasn't thinking, "This is a single." And the first time we had a good mix of it pulled up in the studio, I remember the moment sitting on the couch and listening going, Wait a second, this is a giant hit song

Ramsey: I like where we are right now with that song. Because in the live element, we've taken it and expanded it quite a bit. Up until now, in this tour, I don't think we've really showcased our musicianship, and shown what a true band we are. We picked that song to start doing that with, so now there's an extended version, and we just kind of let Brad do his thing, show his capabilities on the guitar. There's a lot of really cool full-band moments in it.

This song kind of defined our relationship with our label, too. Because when we were making the first record, there was no label head — the person who was there when we got signed ended up getting fired. So we made our whole first album just kind of on our own. So when it came time to make the second album, we just operated like we did on the first one. We didn't tell anybody anything, we didn't send any songs. 

They sort of knew what we were doing, but that song was written sort of late in the game, and they started seeing the title pop up on the cut list, and they started asking us, "We haven't approved this song, what's going on?" We just kept going, "You'll hear it when it's done, it's great." We turned it in, and they were like, "Oh, wow, that is great." I think they gained a lot of trust in us. And now, they just leave us alone. [Laughs.]

"Hotel Key" (2018)

Ramsey: When we were on tour with [Kenny] this past summer, a lot of his crew, for the entire year, unbeknownst to us — people like to throw hotel keys up on the stage, and they collected all the hotel keys for the entire tour without telling us. Then on the last show, they handed them out to the crowd, and they were like, "When the second chorus starts, everybody throw 'em." So we hit the second chorus and it just starts raining hotel keys.

Lots of times people hold 'em up and I'll grab 'em. Sometimes I'll just shove them in my pocket or whatever, and there was one time I did that, and we finished the show, and we were walking off stage, and one of our crew members comes running up to me. He was like, "Hey, that person you took their hotel key, they accidentally handed you their driver's license." I looked in my pocket, and sure enough, I had this driver's license.

I [also] remember a funny story about the video. The director got food poisoning during filming. The poor guy was, between takes, going around the side of the bus and like, losing it, and then coming back and finishing. After we wrapped up the shooting of the video — which was probably like, 2:30 in the morning — he had to go to the ER to get fluid because he was throwing up the entire time. 

Rosen: That's committing to the bit.

"Make It Sweet" (2018)

Ramsey: This was, quite frankly, born out of us being unprepared. We had booked studio time, but we hadn't talked about what we wanted to record, we hadn't shared songs with each other. We had no clue what direction we wanted to go for that third album — we always have ideas, but to go into the studio with no song is pretty ballsy.

Rosen: When you book a studio, usually, it's expensive, so you go in with songs and you know what you're going to do. We booked the studio with no plan. So it's a little bit more pressure, because if you don't end up writing a good song that day, then you just wasted a lot of money. But we wrote ["Make It Sweet"] and recorded it all right there in the same day. 

Ramsey: I had some notes in my phone. You've seen you've seen the, like, T-shirts and bumper stickers and stuff that say, "Take the trip," or "Eat the cake," you know? It was that kind of idea that I had — and I did have "Life is short, make it sweet" written down in that [note].

We were sort of playing, and I remember, off the top of my head, just saying, "I know it's a drag, I know it's a grind" — I was just sort of going. And I looked over at Brad, and Brad goes, "Keep going! Yes, whatever you're doing, do it more!" 

Rosen: The other memorable thing about that song was filming the video. We filmed it in Malibu and had an expensive location on this hillside overlooking the ocean. It was supposed to be this beautiful view, but this morning [there] was just a ton of fog — I mean, you couldn't see two feet in front of your face. At one point, you could tell everyone was starting to get a little uptight. It seemed like [it] might be a total bust.

After a couple hours, it finally started to settle, and it settled a little bit below the hill, and it was like we were in the clouds. It turned out to be something you could never do on purpose. It was just one of the most memorable days and most beautiful shots.

Ramsey: We still have [the guitar I throw in the video], and amazingly it was not broken. They went down the hill and got it, and it was basically in tune still!

It was a free guitar that they had sent us for the video, so we were like, "Okay, let's just toss it." We've used it since then — we were like, "Wow, that thing's tough!"

"One Man Band" (2019)

Ramsey: That's a career song for us. We just never saw that song [getting] as big as it got. Before it was a single, we played it in Chicago — it was our first arena show. We decided to play that song, and it was such a huge response. You play new songs all the time, and you get a good enough response, usually. But we played that song, and it was very obvious that that needed to be the next single.

Rosen: They were captive, first of all — it was like, you're playing a ballad, and they're all just hanging on every word. And then when you hit the end of the chorus, everyone cheers. And it's like, that just doesn't happen usually. 

Ramsey: The video of that one was never supposed to be the video. It was just our videographer, Mason Allen, was filming rehearsal that day. We were just practicing, and he caught a bunch of footage of it, and we put it up because we needed something out there while we figured out what the video was going to be. But the views were just going through the roof, and we were like, "Why would we mess with that? It seems to be doing just fine!" And it ends up getting nominated for Video Of The Year [at the 2020 Academy of Country Music Awards], when it was just rehearsal.

Rosen: We won the [ACM] award that year for Song Of The Year. That was a big award for us, because we started out as songwriters first.

Ramsey: [When we played] Red Rocks [Amphitheatre in Colorado], ["I'll Be" singer] Edwin McCain was there. He was texting me videos a couple days after, and he was like, "What an insane song, and what an insane thing." He's got one of the biggest songs ever, and he's like, in awe of that song. He was even going like, "Man, f— you guys for writing that song." [Laughs.]

"Memory Lane" (2023)

Ramsey: The thing I'm loving right now is the live performance of that song. It's a similar thing to "One Man Band" in that, from the moment it was out and we added it to the set, we start it and as soon as the first line hits, it's the biggest, like, wall of sound of people singing that first line.

I remember the first time it happened, I was like Oh, damn, we got something here. This does not happen. It was way early in the life of that song for that to be happening, so I started to get real confident in the fact that we had a really great song.

Rosen: That song reminded me to follow what we like the best. We have a lot of other songs that we've recorded that I felt like were hits, and there were a couple that I thought maybe were safer choices, but I knew "Memory Lane" was the first one I wanted to listen to when I got in the car. And you don't always pick that one as the single, so I was glad that we went with that one. If we love it, we've been right — that's usually served us well, that our fans and people in general like it.

"I Should Have Married You" (2023)

Ramsey: We're just so lucky, because people like what we do. It's a really fun time in our careers where we're like, Whatever, let's play the new one, you know people are gonna like it!

A couple of years ago, we were in Canada on a day off, and I just started making this little beat, and recorded that piano progression, and then I had it saved forever. I was constantly listening to it and trying to come up with some sort of idea for it, and I couldn't ever land on anything. 

I brought it up in the studio, and everybody loves the feel of it. We started going through the title, and I had this idea: sort of a mad song, that was more like, "You would have made me look like an idiot, I would have married you." And that didn't really feel right until somebody said, "What if it was I should have married you?' and everybody's like, 'Oh, what is that?'"

"Some Horses" (2023)

Ramsey: That one's the only song that we've ever recorded that we didn't write. We weren't searching for songs, it just presented itself at the right time and we felt the need to record it. 

Shane and Matt Jenkins are both writers on that song, and those guys were part of our group before any of us had anything. We were all friends, we were all broke, we were all trying to figure out how to do this songwriting thing, and we played just countless writer's rounds, trading songs with each other. And that song, over a decade ago, was one that they would play a lot, and we just loved from the first time we heard it.

Trevor and I were talking about the old days and songs that we loved [when] we were on the bus, and we texted Matt Jenkins, "Do you have the demo for 'Some Horses'?" We weren't even thinking about recording it, we just wanted to be fans of it again.

The way they wrote it, it was in the third person and it was about a woman — "she races, she runs." And then one morning, I was at home before I went to the studio, and I picked up my guitar and started playing it. But I changed it all to first person, and just identified with it very deeply. 

Shane was in the studio that day, and I was like, "Hey, let me just run something by you guys" — I hadn't talked to Shane about it or anything. I started playing it, and he was, in his very Shane way, was like, "What are you doing right now? Stop it!" He wasn't expecting it, and it's an emotional thing. And I think he identified with it, too, in the way that I had changed the words.

It's an outside song, but we're so close to those guys, and they're so ingrained in the story of this band, that it doesn't really feel like an outside song. Those are our dear, dear friends, and they've been part of this journey the entire time. The creation of this band, and the sound that we create, and the songs that we put out, their fingerprints are all over it. So this was just a different way that their fingerprints are on it.

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Here's What Harry Styles, Brandi Carlile & More Had To Say Backstage At The 2023 GRAMMYs
Harry Styles backstage at the 2023 GRAMMYs

Photo: Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images for The Recording Academy


Here's What Harry Styles, Brandi Carlile & More Had To Say Backstage At The 2023 GRAMMYs

Backstage at the 2023 GRAMMYs, established and emerging stars alike — from Harry Styles to Samara Joy — opened up about what Music’s Biggest Night meant to them.

GRAMMYs/Feb 8, 2023 - 10:31 pm

Like every edition of Music’s Biggest Night, the 2023 GRAMMYs featured a wealth of funny, touching and inspiring onstage speeches — both at the Premiere Ceremony and the main telecast.

But artists tend to express themselves differently, more intimately, backstage — and this certainly applied to GRAMMY winners and nominees at this year’s ceremony.

In the litany of videos below, see and hear stirring, extemporaneous statements from artists all over the 2023 GRAMMYs winners and nominees list, from Album Of The Year winner Harry Styles to Americana star-turned-rocker Brandi Carlile to Best Global Music Performance nominee Anoushka Shankar and beyond.

Throughout, you’ll get a better sense of the good jitters backstage at Arena in Los Angeles on Feb. 5, and hear exactly what the golden gramophone means to this crop of musical visionaries.

The list of videos begins below.

Harry Styles

Samara Joy

Brandi Carlile

Steve Lacy

Muni Long

Bonnie Raitt

Kim Petras

Ashley McBryde

Carly Pearce

Anoushka Shankar

Masa Takumi

Kabaka Pyramid

Robert Glasper

Assassin's Creed


White Sun

Watch Kim Petras, Muni Long, Steve Lacy & More React To Winning Their First GRAMMY
Kim Petras and Sam Smith backstage at the 2023 GRAMMYs

Photo: Alberto E. Rodriguez / Stringer / Getty Images


Watch Kim Petras, Muni Long, Steve Lacy & More React To Winning Their First GRAMMY

Many first-time GRAMMY-nominees became first-time GRAMMY-winners on Sun. Feb. 5 at the 2023 GRAMMYs. Hear the first-time winners react after their GRAMMY-winning moments.

GRAMMYs/Feb 8, 2023 - 09:00 pm

Many first-time GRAMMY-nominees struck gold at the 2023 GRAMMYs on Sunday, Feb. 5, where they received their very first golden gramophones. 

Among the first-time nominees to become GRAMMY-winners were Samara Joy, winner of two GRAMMYs for Best New Artist and Best Jazz Vocal Album; Steve Lacy, who secured the GRAMMY for Best Progressive R&B Album for Gemini Rights;  Kim Petras winning alongside Sam Smith for Best Pop Duo/Group Performance with "Unholy", and Germaine Franco of Encanto. Hear what these winners and many more had to say when they spoke with The Recording Academy and press after their GRAMMY-winning moments. 

Head to all year long to watch all the GRAMMY performances, acceptance speeches, the GRAMMY Live From The Red Carpet livestream special, the full Premiere Ceremony livestream, and even more exclusive, never-before-seen content from the 2023 GRAMMYs.

Samara Joy

Samara Joy, GRAMMY-winner for Best New Artist and Best Jazz Vocal Album - Linger Awhile

Steve Lacy

Steve Lacy, GRAMMY-winner for Best Progressive R&B Album - Gemini Rights

Muni Long

Muni Long, GRAMMY-winner for Best R&B Performance - "Hrs & Hrs"

Kim Petras

Kim Petras, GRAMMY-winner for Best Pop Duo/Group Performance - "Unholy" with Sam Smith

Ashley McBryde

Ashley McBryde, GRAMMY-winner for Best Country Duo/Group Performance - "Never Wanted To Be That Girl"

Carly Pearce

Carly Pearce, GRAMMY-winner for Best Country Duo/Group Performance - "Never Wanted To Be That Girl"

Masa Takumi

Masa Takumi, GRAMMY-winner for Best Global Music Album - Sakura

Kabaka Pyramid

Kabaka Pyramid, GRAMMY-winner for Best Reggae Album - The Kalling

Stephanie Economou

Stephanie Economou, GRAMMY-winner for Best Score Soundtrack for Video Games and Other Interactive Media - Assassin’s Creed Valhalla: Dawn Of Ragnarok

White Sun

White Sun, GRAMMY-winner for Best New Age, Ambient, or Chant Album - Mystic Mirror