updated 07/03/2008 AT 12:00 PM ET
•originally published 07/03/2008 AT 1:00 PM ET
“I feel like I’ve got my edge back,” Chesney tells the paper. “I’ve been playing guitar a lot lately. There was a period at the end of 2005 and really all of 2006 where I never took the guitar case out of the closet when I was at home. I was in such a personal funk after the Renée thing that I could have played [a stadium concert] every day of the week and wouldn’t have felt much joy from it.”
Chesney, who will headline a big Nashville show on Saturday with a line-up that includes pal (and soon-to-be-dad) Keith Urban and LeAnn Rimes, said the thrill of playing in front of crowds helps make the sometimes unwanted media attention on his private life a little easier to bear.
“I don’t like being in certain magazines. And who would? But that’s part of what comes with this. And ‘this’ is going out and playing these shows and I love that. It’s so addictive I can’t even begin to tell you,” he said, adding: “I’m a carefree spirit, and everybody out here lives by the ‘work hard and play harder’ rule. But it’s not always like this … I’m more in the moment this year than I have been the last couple of years, and I notice more of the good things.”
And Chesney, whose tour continues throughout the summer, just announced an addition to the good things in his life: his own XM channel dubbed “No Shoes Radio.”
The channel will run from July 26 though Oct. 25 on XM 18 and Chesney said in a press release that it will feature “a lot of hits, but there are also a lot of album tracks, songs from the early part of my career, stuff from our Keg in the Closet shows and obscurities that you had to be there to hear.” It’s a way to “keep the vibe alive – long after our tour is gone,” he says.