With peace-love-music images that harken to the freedom of the 1960s and an updated all-American bent, Chesney, 46, is set to release his latest record, The Big Revival, on Sept. 23 – and his hippie fun bus plays a central role.
"I wanted an album cover that was surprising … Not what people expect, but that also suggests anything is possible," Chesney told Billboard of the concept. "That no matter where you are in your life, how tired or lost or demoralized, with a little faith and a little help, anything is possible … Because it's all within you! Or me."
The cover features a tricked-out school bus painted with primary-colored psychedelic images – plus an American flag flying up front – as the buffed up Luttrell, Tennessee, native leads his singing charges across the desert.
"That was the thing about that bus," Chesney told Billboard of his unusual cover image. "It was so far beyond coloring outside the lines, yet what is more common than a school bus? We've all seen them, no matter how old we are, our entire lives … and yet, when you look at that bus after we were done painting it, it was a whole new notion!"
After a year spent away from touring, where he's made his mark leading his No Shoes Nation, Chesney's latest effort is hotly anticipated by country music fans who have made the singer's last seven albums No. 1 on the Billboard charts.
Like his previous beach-inspired efforts, the record speaks to Chesney's free-spirited take on life, but also marks his creative investment in the current generation, which he touts in his first single, "American Kids," as "a little messed up but we're all all right." In the song's video, Chesney returns with his ever-present country-boy smile and tan to lead a singing band of post-Millennial hippies, all fresh-faced and wearing peasant skirts and braids and playing banjos. The song has skyrocketed to No. 2 on the Billboard Hot Country Songs chart in just three weeks.
Americana-inspired collaborators joining Chesney on his latest Buddy Cannon-produced ride include Grace Potter and Alison Krauss. We're counting down the days!