Kenny Chesney Helps Bring Out the Best in David Lee Murphy on ‘No Zip Code’
Kenny Chesney and David Lee Murphy have a way amplifying each other's strengths, and it shows in their latest work on Murphy's 2018 album, No Zip Code.
The "Dust on the Bottle" singer has been out of the spotlight for the past 14 years, crafting his songwriting. It's led to a string of hit songs, like Chesney's "Living in Fast Forward," "Anywhere With You" by Jake Owen and the Jason Aldean introductory hit, "Big Green Tractor." He's back with a new album of his own, but Murphy's No Zip Code is more of a passion project than it is a typical studio release.
Chesney acted as a mentor as he and Murphy sifted through an extensive song catalog, selecting nearly a dozen songs from Murphy's more than 20-year career that he would feel good to share.
"There's a lot of different kind of sounds and influences," Murphy tells Taste of Country of the project, calling it a "party mix." "There's really hard-rocking things, and there's some hillbilly-sounding things. There's a variety of sounds, but they all fit in the same little package."
Chesney influenced the variety, also serving as a producer, buddy and general sounding board. The two artists passed songs back and forth for months, trying to select Murphy's best compositions to highlight on No Zip Code. You'll find country and rock, and a lot of emotion, like in "Way Gone." He unapologetically promises that he'll live life to the fullest on "I Won't Be Sorry," later honoring childhood idols with the Willie Nelson-approved "Willie and Waylon (And a Bottle of Jack)."
"Over the course of a few years, those were favorites of mine for one reason or the other," Murphy explains of the chosen 11 songs on No Zip Code. "All of those songs are special for different reasons and I like to listen to them at all different times."
Murphy's encouraging "Everything's Gonna Be Alright" is currently climbing its way up the country radio charts. He originally wrote it with Chesney in mind — the song wasn't a good match for the superstar on previous albums — but Murphy never imagined it would become a duet featuring Chesney.
"I remember the first time I sent that song, he text me right back, 'Man, I love that song,'" Murphy recalls. "That just seemed like the perfect song for Kenny to sing on. It took it to the next level for sure." The superstar put his touch on the track not only as a duet partner and co-producer, but by adding the line, "And I looked back over her shoulder / Thinking 'bout the sign hanging up on the wall" into the second verse.
"He is a great song interpreter," Murphy admits. "Everything's Gonna Be Alright" is the kind of song every writer dreams of creating, and Murphy has heard from fans who've been impacted by it already.
"Somebody told me the other day that their mom was in the hospital and they came out and were upset. They got in the car and 'Everything's Gonna Be All Right' was on. That's the best thing you could ask for as a songwriter, that you had a song that makes people feel good when they're stressed out or worried about something," Murphy says. "Right now in this time, there's so much stress with everything that's going on in the world. I think it's a message that people want to hear right now."
No Zip Code is available now.
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