Last September, hurricanes ripped through many island nations, leaving immense devastation in their paths. Countless homes and businesses were destroyed, including a home and bar owned by Kenny Chesney in the Virgin Islands.
Chesney was one of the first celebrities to speak out about the destruction, taking to Instagram with a simple plea to his fans, writing, “@noshoesnation please pray for all my friends in the islands.”
A day after he shared that image, Chesney released a statement that captured just how devastated the island people were after the hurricanes tore their beloved home apart. Expressing a desire to help in any way possible, Chesney promised he would “figure out the best ways to make a difference, to help in whatever ways, small or larger…”
Days later Chesney was in the studio, recording the songs that now appear on his brand-new album Songs for the Saints. Proceeds from the album will go Chesney’s Love for Love City fund, which he established to help with hurricane relief in the islands.
Now that the album is out, Chesney has been making the media rounds to talk about it and the personal devastation he experienced due to Hurricane Irma specifically. During an appearance on Good Morning America, he spoke of how his home and bar in the Virgin Islands were entirely destroyed.
But in the midst of the rubble, Chesney managed to find a few remaining possessions, including a meaningful gift he had received from some fans.
That gift was a black shotski, which is a ski-shaped piece of wood with a shot glass on it. The piece of wood was labeled with the name Chesney has assigned to his fans, “No Shoes Nation”:
“It was one of a few things that made it through Hurricane Irma, believe it or not, and I just felt like it described the bond, how strong our bond was — between me and the audience. I decided when it made it through that I was going to bring that shotski back and give it back to the person that gave it to me and that’s what we did.“
Chesney said when he saw the fans using the shotski at one of his concerts in 2016 he knew he wanted to bring it back to the islands with him. After giving the fans a signed guitar as a trade, Chesney proudly went out on stage that night to show off the shotski to everyone in attendance.
A photographer happened to capture the moment that Chesney held the shotski up on stage, and that image eventually appeared on the cover of his 2017 Live in No Shows Nation record.
That image is now all the more significant considering what that shotski means to Chesney.
Hats off to Chesney for going above and beyond to help his friends in the islands during their time of need. You can get a taste of his album Songs for the Saints by listening to one of its songs, the hit “Get Along,” below.
If you like what you hear, go ahead and get the full album, because it will benefit hurricane relief!