Chesney knew he had something special when he heard “American Kids," but he didn’t think he’d hit the kind of nerve the decidedly icon-invoking tribute to being young and alive in the U.S. has struck. Hitting radio Friday, June 20 at 6 a.m. and iTunes at 7 p.m., the first single from Chesney’s eagerly anticipated fall release debuted at #27 on Billboard and #31 on Country Aircheck/Mediabase. With little more than two days play, it topped iTunes Country Songs chart and hit the all-genre Top 10 over the weekend.
“I knew it was one of the freshest things in a long time when I heard it,” says the songwriter from Luttrell, Tennessee. “And then I heard it on the radio, and I couldn’t believe how great it sounded! ‘American Kids’ sounded as freewheeling and free-spirited as the folks I’m singing about... and no matter how old you are, I promise, unless you were one of those kids who just didn’t like fun, you know just how alive this feels.”
Bowing on NoShoesRadio.com at 6 a.m., mainstream radio took up the single – and by chart close Monday, 116 stations added the song. But beyond (un)conventional media, the song is making its way virally. Myriad covers are hitting the internet, including Angie Keilhauer (Link: http://bit.ly/1lkBaqs), whose driving, smoky rendition caught Chesney’s eye. “It’s crazy what’s going on with it,” Chesney laughs. “People feel just like I do about this song. They love how it makes them feel, where it takes them in their life. You don’t need a big party to have fun, it’s right where you are and how you take it.
With a chorus that contains the salvo: “a little messed up, but we’re all alright,” the Shane McAnally/Luke Laird/Rodney Clawson song mines three rhythms, two works and so many iconics you can’t count’ em. But what can be measured is the smile-induction factor. For Chesney, who’s been creating trends rather than following them since his breakthrough No Shoes, No Shirt, No Problems and When the Sun Goes Down, he was seeking something that was fun but didn’t sacrifice innovative songs or unique approach that have seen him teaming with Dave Matthews, Uncle Kracker, the Wailers and Grace Potter on a series of outside the lines #1s.
“I never want to repeat myself,” laughs the man The Wall Street Journal deemed “The King of the Road” about his upcoming project. “When you’ve had the kind of songs I’ve been able to find, it gets harder every time. But I believe creativity is something you create – with time, passion and talented friends! I hate not playing to the fans this summer, but the response to ‘American Kids’ tells me it was the right thing.”