Nation Member Melissa

Melissa Hensley

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 My Kenny Chesney adventures began back on April 27, 1996 at a WIVK listeners appreciation show in Knoxville, TN. I had loved Kenny’s music and was excited to get to see him for the first time. Needless to say, I was hooked after that. Kenny was at Dollywood in August of that year and I was able to meet him for the first time. That next year, we started going to any show that was close and started going to his fan club parties in Nashville each year. We have had the pleasure of seeing Kenny play for less than a 100 people sitting around him on a picnic table to him playing in front of thousands of people. We saw him over 20 times from 1996 to 2002 and met him at almost every show. The last time he played here was in 2003 at Neyland Stadium which I was 8 months pregnant and unable to go. After 9/11, his management advised him to quit doing M&G’s and he ended up doing his last fan club party in 2002. This meant no more meeting Kenny. We not only got to get to know Kenny, but we were able to meet his sister and dad along with Clayton, Wyatt, Tim, and others. Cheryl Bevis, who was over his fan club was great and did so many things for us. It was sad not to see him for so many years. I was so excited when I heard he was doing the Birthday Bash in Nashville. My kids are older now, so my husband and I did both shows. We actually won sandbar passes from a radio station for the Thursday night show before we went in, which made it extra special. It’s hard to pick a favorite show cause I have so many great memories of each one. But I do have to say that the Birthday Bash was pretty special being in the sandbar at a big show and seeing Kenny & Jake in one night.
 Kenny has so many great songs that I love. My oldest daughter says there’s times that she just needs to listen to his music.  I guess cause she heard it all the time when I was pregnant and we played it to soothe her when she was a baby. But if I had to choose, ‘Back Where I Come From’ would have to be one of my favorites. I’m from East TN as well and it just sums it up. Now as far as the album goes, I probably listen to ‘When The Sun Goes Down’ and ‘No Shoes, No Shirt, No Problems’ the most.
The best part of the No Shoes Nation is that nobody thinks you’re crazy cause they’re just like you. I have had the pleasure of meeting some great people and friends thru it.
Now I know I’ve not been to the most Kenny concerts or met him the most times, but I wouldn’t trade my experiences with anybody. Kenny is great and being able to meet him all those times and for him to say, “Hey, there’s my Madisonville couple” from show to show was priceless. Do I miss the little acoustic sets and talking to him? Of course I do, but I’m so proud of what Kenny has done and accomplished over all these years. He has so deserved to be where he’s at in his career. It would be nice to have that opportunity again, but I know those chances are slim to none these days. But it doesn’t matter cause I will forever be a part of the No Shoes Nation!!!
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