Artist - Kenny Chesney & Kelsea Ballerini 2
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Kenny Chesney Pays Tribute to Kelsea Ballerini During Final Run of 2023 Shows

June 2, 2023 4:22 pm GMT

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Over the course of the past few months, fans have been able to witness Kenny Chesney and Kelsea Ballerini's friendship blossom before their very eyes, with the two country stars teaming up to perform throughout Kenny's 2023 I Go Back tour.

As the run of shows drew to a close with a double-header in Orange Beach, Alabama, Kenny Chesney took the opportunity to express his appreciation for his fellow Tennessee native.

During their nightly performance of their nostalgic 2020 collaboration, ‘half of my hometown’, Kenny showed Kelsea a big-screen video montage he'd prepared for her, featuring a mix of photos from both of their childhoods in East Tennessee and memories from the tour.

Kelsea Ballerini was visibly moved, and the moment encapsulated the warm, familiar atmosphere that had followed the duo around throughout their expansive series of 2023 shows.

Following Kenny Chesney's final set at The Wharf, he and Kelsea jetted off for a well-earned vacation in Kenny's beloved US Virgin Islands. Before they embarked on the post-tour trip, Kenny Chesney spoke about his admiration for Kelsea Ballerini and all she's achieved so far, underlining, “I didn’t mean for her to cry [during the montage]. But I wanted that moment in that song – about leaving and doing what people think is crazy, and everyone has an opinion, and it’s so scary when you’re a kid driving west – to really sink in. It’s not just how far she’s come, but it’s her heart and the way she’s not just making her dream, but a whole lot of little girls’ dreams come true”.

He went on to explain why he'd decided to create the video tribute for Kelsea in Alabama, “I wanted her to see it, and understand the power of what we do, what she means... and like the girl in ‘Big Star,’ it only comes with hard work, great songs and believing”.

‘Big Star’, one of Kenny's many fan-favourites, tells the story of a girl that works her way up through various karaoke gigs, small-town shows and - eventually - arena dates, to become a household name in country music, despite picking up an army of detractors along the way.

Although there are no more shows lined up with Kelsea Ballerini for 2023, Kenny Chesney has a couple of festival appearances to look forward to, with the ‘Get Along’ hitmaker due to perform at Gulf Coast Jam and Carolina Country Music Fest this month.

Kenny is taking the stage in place of Morgan Wallen, who was forced to withdraw from both festivals after sustaining a vocal chord injury in early May while on his 2023 One Night At A Time tour.

For more on Kenny Chesney, see below:

Written by Maxim Mower
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