Fans like Kenny Chesney for his looks, his performance style and especially for the message of his songs.
By DEBORA SHAULIS
Nine thousand ticket holders, 9,000 reasons to be there. That's the story behind the story of the sold-out Kenny Chesney concert tonight, on the final night of the Canfield Fair.
The Vindicator caught up with some fans as they were picking up their tickets at the grandstand box office to ask about Chesney's appeal and his future in country music, as they see it.
"I think he's well on his way. His latest album, there are five or six hit songs on it," said Billy Johnson, 38, who drove here from Chester, W.Va., to buy tickets. Johnson has seen Chesney in concert several times.
"He's more on the average person's wavelength, not up there," said Melissa Viney, 32, of North Bloomfield in Trumbull County, who ordered her tickets when they went on sale in June. Her favorite songs: "Dreams" and "Young," both on Chesney's latest CD, "No Shoes, No Shirt, No Problems."
Likes the lyrics
"He's really good with words and feelings and stuff," said Shawn Louk, 21, of Columbiana. Louk is into romance these days; he likes Chesney, but the concert tickets were really for his fianc & eacute;e, who's a big fan.
"He picks out nice songs, nice lyrics," said Debbie McLellan, 35, of Mineral Ridge. She saw Chesney when he opened concerts last summer for Tim McGraw. She'll see him tonight in the company of her 9-year-old son and her mother, who is visiting here from Mississippi.
"He's just an all-around good guy. He's a good entertainer," said Tina Powers, 29, of Guilford Lake. Her 4-year-old son, Tyler, took a shine to Chesney's hit song "She Thinks My Tractor's Sexy" when he was 2.
Powers respects Chesney for another reason: "He was younger when he started out. That gives young people the opportunity to look at him and realize their dreams can come true."
Chesney's cute quotient also comes into play. "He sings nice songs. He sings real down-to-earth, life songs. He can woo me anytime!" said Mary Colla, 39, of Austintown. Daughter Jennifer, 15, is a Chesney fan club member. They saw him earlier this summer at Post-Gazette Pavilion near Pittsburgh and are looking forward to hearing their favorite songs. For Mary Colla, it's "When I Close My Eyes"; Jennifer likes "How Forever Feels."
Chesney's style of music is A-OK to Mary Colla. "He's more country rock than that old country twang," she said. Even her 78-year-old mother agrees. She, too, will be at the concert tonight.