Jake Owen returns to Chesney tour roots
Kenny Chesney is huge. How huge? His current "The Big Revival" tour, which hits Wells Fargo Arena Thursday, is considered "scaled back" because his last tour was in stadiums. And he can get opening acts like Jake Owen, who is perfectly capable of headlining his own big tours. For instance, Owen headlined the Iowa State Fair Grandstand with his "Days of Gold" tour in 2014.
"The Big Revival" tour is bringing things full circle for Owen, who opened for Chesney nine years ago on the mega-star's "The Road & The Radio" tour. At the time Owen's career was just getting started.
"It's exciting to go out with a guy like Kenny," Owen said during a phone interview. "We've become good friends, but nine years ago I didn't know him that well. I was just a new kid and excited to go on the road. All these years later we're buddies. It's nice to tour with a guy you're friends with."
Since that first tour, Owen has racked up several No. 1 hits, including "Barefoot Blue Jean Night," "Along With You" and "Beachin'." Owen said going out on tour with Chesney means there's less weight on his shoulders and has also given him extra time to work on a follow-up to his 2013 album, "Days of Gold." Chesney's tour dates are usually Wednesday-Saturday, providing some time off on the road.
Owen first came to Chesney's attention due to his songwriting skills. He wrote the song "Ghosts" for Chesney. Chesney didn't end up using it (Owen recorded it for his 2006 debut "Startin' With Me"). Many of Owen's big hits have been written by others and the signer said there's a key to choosing to sing someone else's song.
"I have to believe in it," Owen said. "If I didn't write it, it has to be something I believe. Not only that moment, but for the rest of my life. Songs live forever. If I don't believe in it, I would have a hard time delivering it to audiences."
Fans taking in Thursday's show will notice something different about Owen from his last visit: He cut his trademark long hair. He doesn't have any plans to go back to the longer look.
"It was time. I had it for a long time, about 10 years," Owen said. "I think I dig it a little better when it's shorter."
Kenny Chesney's "The Big Revival" tour with Jake Owen and Chase Rice
When: 7 p.m. Thursday
Where: Wells Fargo Arena, 730 Third St.