“When you think about all the people it could help & how it could help change their psyche & give healing (‘Songs for the Saints’) is probably the most important record I ever made. I hope they get as much healing out of listening to it as I did from making it.”
Kenny Chesney says he made his latest album to deal with his own anxiety after Hurricane Irma devastated the Virgin Islands. His house on St. John was destroyed, but thankfully he learned days later that the 17 friends who had sought shelter there survived. He was at his home in Nashville at the time.
“All that anxiety and all that fear made me hyperfocused to a point where I became it. I would get up every day, go into the studio and make this record. I’ve never made a record that was so in the moment, and I think you can hear the angst.”
He did more than just make an album to benefit hurricane survivors. He helped to privately fund relief efforts to offer immediate help to those in need.
Blogger Jenn Manes, who lives on St. John, told USA Today that the day after Irma, she & hundreds of others made their way to the one place on the island where you could get a cell phone signal. It was on the rooftop of a pizza restaurant that she received this message from her dad:
“Kenny’s team is on the way. You’re all going to be o.k.”
USA Today, 7/25/18