June 26.2015 – – Story Behind “Somewhere With You” by Kenny Chesney

Hear part of the story audio here!

Kenny Chesney told Billboard magazine about this J.T. Harding and Shane McAnally penned tale of lost love: “This song killed me when I heard it. This is a tortured soul song. If you get going with somebody, you’ve been in a relationship and for whatever reason she’s gone or you’re gone. And you’re not necessarily in another relationship, but you’re with somebody else, just starting something with somebody else. Trying to balance both those worlds is tough. I’ve done it a lot, where you’re with somebody and you’re thinking this isn’t necessarily bad, but wow, man it would be really great to be with you. That can be a lot of mental baggage.”

After the song topped the Billboard country chart, Chesney said he believed the song resonated with so many people because of its combination of an unusual melody and its message of moving on from a previous relationship, but still thinking about that other person. Said the Country star: “Melodically, I think this is the most unpredictable melody that I’ve sang in a long time. And I think just the overall feel and the essence and what the song – the overall message of the song – what it says, so many people can relate to that. They have that person in their life that, ‘Yeah, I’m with this person now, but I still think about this over here.’ This may be a great, committed relationship, or it may just be a date, but still that person is in their head, in their heart, and they’re thinking about it.”

Chesney explained it was the song’s lyrics, which drew him to record the song in the first place. “I love the line of this song where [it says], ‘I can’t go out every night of the week/I can’t go home with anybody I meet/and it’s just a temporary high/’cause when I close my eyes/I’m somewhere with you,'” said the singer. “Anybody that has been in a relationship associates certain places or certain things or certain music, food, whatever, back to that person.”

Harding and McAnally had never met before the day they sat down and penned this tune. However, both had experienced their share of trouble and heartache prior to this co-write. Harding was grieving the death of his father, a bad break-up, a lost publishing deal, and the pending demolition of his apartment complex. Meanwhile, McAnally had also experienced a break-up at his then-home in Los Angeles and had recently moved back to Nashville to give Music City a second try after a failed record deal a decade earlier. The duo recalled to The Boot this collaboration in which they channelled their frustration and grief into song.

McAnally: It was literally two guys who had nothing, and I had just come back. I had no one to write with. I had started playing on the Sunset Strip in L.A. Before I left Nashville, I was just writing what was on the radio at the time, because it was all I knew. And going to L.A., not having anything going on, not having anyone to write with because I didn’t have a deal, that holds you up. You’re gonna find a sound, you’re gonna find your true voice.
When I came back, I was driving this ’95 Corolla I had borrowed from my sister’s boyfriend, and a bungee cord was holding up the passenger side window! I ended up writing with J.T. that day because we have a mutual friend who’s a songwriter who pawned me off on J.T., and what a blessing!

Harding: Shane and I both were in a tough spot, but we both showed up. And basically, right out of a movie script, neither of us had anything going on, and the day we met we wrote ‘Somewhere With You.’

McAnally: What’s funny is the first name that came to mind when we wrote it was Kenny. It was so far-fetched, because everyone says that about every song they write, but it was so different than anything he had done and he always has this side that’s this lost love, the-one-that-got-away thing.

Harding: Shane did a whole tour with Kenny years ago, when Shane’s record was out, so he knows about Kenny a little. One interesting thing about ‘Somewhere With You’ is it’s the same four chords all the way through the song. I really have to credit Shane, because the fast kind of rap-ish part, I had tried that with some other songwriters and they all said, “Well that’s too different, that doesn’t sound country.” And when I sang that melody for Shane, he jumped on it and kept saying, “That’s so different, that’s exactly what we need to do!” And it sure feels good that the biggest artist in country thought it was good for him.

McAnally: Kenny just took a chance, and we knew the song was good, but I think other people’s reaction is what started us realizing what was happening with that song.

The song instantly struck a chord with broken-hearted fans everywhere. The duo told The Boot how their fledgling collaboration struck gold.

Harding: I don’t know if we knew it was special, but I had recently met Uncle Kracker and his brother, Mike Shaffer, who was managing him. Uncle Kracker and Mike started calling us saying, “This ‘Somewhere With You’ song is really special, we gotta start playing it for everybody!” And with everything else I was going through, it really made me feel good. And Shane, to his credit, made the demo for it, and so much credit goes to him. Also, Shane was really excited that I wasn’t a country writer, that I was more of a pop-rock guy, just as I was excited that he was a country writer.
I honestly write songs the only way I know how, to say something I’m feeling, so whether it’s for myself or someone else it’s usually the same.

McAnally: The reason it works for us as a writing combo is I can get very bogged down in the technical side of a song. The number of words in a line, matching up the rhymes, and J.T. is raw instinct. He stands up off a chair and says, “Right here it has to lift,” and then he’ll sit back down and say, “And here I need to just feel it!” I think he’s more comfortable with me now, he’s climbing the walls now, he’s standing on the edge of chairs, and hanging upside down! What’s my great quote?

Harding: He always says, “You’re scaring people with your enthusiasm!” [laughs] I have to be careful, because Shane has such a great voice that when we’re writing even the most basic idea, it sounds so great when we’re singing it. So I don’t know if it’s good or not.

Both songwriters had other irons in the fire when this song was released. But its success outdid everything else they’d done. Said Harding to The Boot: “While ‘Somewhere With You’ was sitting on a shelf somewhere, a song I co-wrote for Kracker, ‘Smile,’ came out — I got real lucky with that one — and also the Jonas Brothers single, ‘Feelin’ Alive’. And Shane had ‘Last Call’ for Lee Ann Womack come out, and some Reba and Luke Bryan cuts, so we both had things happening, and we love those things and they’re great, and then out of the blue ‘Somewhere With You’ comes out – the cherry on top. And I personally am a huge country fan, but I would not want anyone other than Kenny Chesney to do this song.”

McNally added: “I read some stats on the song recently that said something crazy like in the last seven days, it has been played more times in a 7-day period than any song in country history except for [Tim McGraw’s] ‘Live Like You Were Dying.'”

LYRICS: Written by J.T. Harding and Shane McAnally

“Somewhere With You”

If you’re going out with someone new
I’m going out with someone too
I won’t feel sorry for me, I’m getting drunk
But I’d much rather be somewhere with you

Laughing loud on a carnival ride, yeah
Driving around on a Saturday night
You made fun of me for singing my song
Got a hotel room just to turn you on

You said pick me up at three a.m.
You’re fighting with your mom again
And I’d go, I’d go, I’d go somewhere with you

I won’t sit outside your house
And wait for the lights to go out
Call up an ex to rescue me, climb in their bed
When I’d much rather sleep somewhere with you

Like we did on the beach last summer
When the rain came down and we took cover
Down in your car, out by the pier
You laid me down, whispered in my ear

I hate my life, hold on to me
Ah, if you ever decide to leave
Then I’ll go, I’ll go, I’ll go

I can go out every night of the week
Can go home with anybody I meet
But it’s just a temporary high ’cause when I close my eyes
I’m somewhere with you, somewhere with you

If you see me out on the town
And it looks like I’m burning it down
You won’t ask and I won’t say
But in my heart I’m always somewhere with you

Laughing loud on a carnival ride, yeah
Driving around on a Saturday night
You made fun of me for singing my song
Got a hotel room just to turn you on

You said pick me up at three a.m.
You’re fighting with your mom again
And I’d go, I’d go, I’d go

I can go out every night of the week
Can go home with anybody I meet
But it’s just a temporary high ’cause when I close my eyes
I’m somewhere with you, somewhere with you

Somewhere with you
I’m somewhere with you
I’m somewhere with you
Somewhere with you
Somewhere with you

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About Robynn

Robynn Jaymes has spent her whole life in radio… 30 years!! And almost half of them have been at Star Country. Originally from Cincinnati, Robynn came to the area as a Liberty University student. Along with all things country music, Robynn is a big fan of Football!—The Virginia Tech Hokies, The Washington Redskins and, of course, the Cincinnati Bengals. And also, “I’m addicted to the Weather Channel,” she says. Right now, Robynn is a big fan if the music coming from Miranda Lambert, Lady Antebellum and Kenny Chesney! Robynn is also a winner of the Billboard Air Personality of the Year award. Hear all new Warm & Fuzzies with Robynn M-F at 11:45AM!

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