April 17, 2009 — After a winter of anticipation, Kenny Chesney kicks off his 2009 Sun City Carnival Tour Friday, and he'll bring a member of the reggae band the Wailers as he carts his award-winning music around the country.
The Wailers, of course, took part in Kenny's "Everybody Wants To Go To Heaven" video and appeared with him on the Country Music Association awards in November. Kenny thought it'd be cool to add Drummie Zeb on percussion for the Sun City entourage, and Zeb was up for it.
"When we all jammed out at Tootsies [Orchid Lounge] the Monday before the awards, we played so much, we got comfortable inside each other's music," Zeb says. "I'm basically a trap player, but Sean [Paddock] was on the kit, and I saw some congas and figured that was how I could play, too. And I think Kenny remembered, you know, 'Hey, Drummie really rocked those congas'."
It represents another expansion of Kenny's sound. Last year, he grafted a horn section onto the band for the tour, and it's still part of the show this year, too.
Zeb "adds a whole other flavor, and it gives the music an undertow of what it feels like out on a boat, listening to the music drifting over your bow," Kenny says. "Drummie plays great. He fits in with the guys, and he brings a piece of this music that's there but isn't brought out usually. I think it's kinda crazy having a Rastafarian on the road with a country band, and yet it makes perfect stuff."
Also on the road with Kenny are opening acts Miranda Lambert and Lady Antebellum. It all kicks off with a pair of shows this weekend at the Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Conn.