A Birthday Tribute for MVM

It was difficult to post the clips for this week… that’s right, I’m throwing down with double feature. It’s been a while, and this is a special occasion within parts of the family…

First, some back story.

Circa 2000, I ragged hard on some of my coworkers that were country fans. One of the dominant songs that I had picked up on was Kenny Chesney’s She Thinks My Tractor’s Sexy. “Really?” I would ask. Sometimes, I would say it in a really pronounced southern drawl, trying to sound as redneck as I could. I thought it was corny. Chesney had cut several albums by this point, but I think that’s the track that really broke him out into a wider audience and started marking him towards his current style and fan base.

Jump forward six years and there I am, at a Kenny Chesney concert with the woman who would become my first wife. It was his Road and the Radio tour (with Jake Owen & Dierks Bentley as the two opening acts)… here’s part of what I wrote at the time:

Kenny Chesney has a concert “tradition” I guess you would call it. Jenn says that there’s a letter he has on his website [back in 2006, remember, not sure if it’s changed since then] where he says, “See y’all in the parking lot, and see you at the show.” Well, credence can now be placed in that tradition… while we were at the show [in the parking lot, tailgating – we got there right after the gates opened], this John Deere gator comes cruising through… nothing unusual – there had been a couple of maintenance groups and grounds/parking crews that had come through – this one seemed a little different.
     In the passenger seat was a guy wearing a grey, sleeveless t-shirt, khaki shorts and a faded red ball cap. “Oh my god, is that…?” Jenn muttered. Twenty feet from us, no obstacles, it was Kenny in the Gator. He pulled up after about ten yards and stopped to take some pictures, the kind that could be used on his website of for concert slideshows. Amid the mass and photo op, Jenn holds up our bottle of Cruzan Rum [who was one of the sponsors of the tour] and calls out, “Hey, Kenny, want some Cruzan?” He looked, smiled, and started to laugh. That was only at 5pm… the show didn’t even start until 7pm.”

Through Jenn, I had become a fan of his Be as You Are (Songs From an Old Blue Chair), and some of his more upbeat/rock oriented singles, including some from the The Road and the Radio album. When his Live: Live Those Songs Again came out that fall (2006), she ordered a copy through the KC fan club, and it became a regular staple in the car.

So much so that it was spinning in the CD player the morning after she died n March 2007, and I drove to work with tears streaming down my face as the first three songs from the album played. [To clarify, I was not going in to work, but to start the paperwork process of the aftermath.] As a result, I’ve had a hard time listening to Kenny Chesney since. Even going to a concert in 2007, experiencing the music felt a bit hollow.

I tell you all of that to tell you this: her birthday would have been today, and she would have been 32. Like I mentioned, this is a double feature week. The first selection is my choice of a memorial, since there isn’t an official video for Be As You Are, here is Old Blue Chair… one of her favorites from the album.

And, with the rest of her family and friends in mind, the second one should be fairly obvious once you hear the refrain.

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