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The Boys of Fall


Kenny Chesney

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This is the first single to be taken from Country music artist Kenny Chesney's fourteenth studio album, Hemingway's Whiskey. Nashville songwriters Dave Turnbull and Casey Beathard penned the song. Kenny and Casey go back a long way. The title track of Chesney's 1998 album I Will Stand was the first cut by Beathard as a songwriter and Chesney later recorded "No Shirt, No Shoes, No Problems", another Beathard co-write, in 2002.
Even though Chesney didn't write the song, its subject matter of a love of high school football is close to his heart. Kenny explained on his website that from the first time he played the tune, he knew he wanted to record it. "I just stopped right there, and played it over and over again," Chesney said. "I knew - as maybe only someone who has felt that thrill of rushing out onto the field on a cold Friday night can - that was exactly how it is. It also gives you a sense of why playing football in high school is such a powerful thing for anyone who does it. It's life changing. For anyone who's never experienced that, this song helps them understand why."
Co-writer Casey Beathard told The Boot the story behind this song: "Football is my biggest passion other than songwriting and the family stuff I do. If I'm not with my family or writing, I'm at home just watching football. That's my background. My dad and brothers were in football, and I have a big passion for it. I'm coaching my kids all through it.
That phrase, 'the boys of fall,' is something I'd heard a while back. It was something about 'I miss the boys of fall.' I wrote it down and sat on it for a while. Dave and I were sitting around with nothing to write. It was one of those times where it was in the air. You knew football season was coming. When Dave and I started talking about football, that phrase came back to me. We wanted to write it.
It was not so much about football as much as we were talking about life. I always coordinate football with life anyway - leaning on each other and all that stuff you face in life. There's not a small town - or any town - in this country that doesn't get it. This is where football came from. I'm surprised there hasn't been a big song about football until now.
I knew Kenny had the same passion for football as I did. I remember him being on ESPN doing all the college game-day interviews, and I've seen him on TV with Sean Payton, the coach of the New Orleans Saints. I sent the song to him the first chance I had. He immediately got back to me and said he was going to put it on his album."
Chesney discussed this song in a track-by-track interview with Billboard magazine: "'Boys Of Fall' is a perfect description of how I grew up and where I grew up. That song meant so much to me and I thought, 'Wow, there's a lot of kids out there and a lot of people that have that feeling in their lives.' There's a line in the song that says, "In little towns like mine, that's all we got." And that's the way it was in East Tennessee, and still is. I've got a lot of guys from East Tennessee out on the road [with me] that grew up the same way, and I played them that song when [writer] Casey Beathard gave me the CD of just him on a guitar playing it. I made everybody come on the bus and said "listen to this." I knew we had something that was very common. A lot of people that listen to my music and that are passionate about what we do out on the road... I've been pretty perceptive over the years, and I think that we kind of grew up the same way. I see myself a lot in my fans, and I think vice versa. I hope so anyway."
This was Chesney's 18th Country #1. The song's ascension to the summit meant that Chesney had achieved at least one chart-topper ever year for ten successive years.
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