Kenny Chesney Reckons with What Once Was in New Video for “Knowing You”

Kenny Chesney reframes what once was in his cinematic video for “Knowing You” from his latest chart-topping album, Here and Now. In the official music video filmed last fall, the beloved country artist breathes new life into a universally resonate waltz about love and loss and the wonder between the two. 

Videos by American Songwriter

From the rocky shores of Gloucester, Massachusetts, Chesney reflects wistfully on his past, balancing gratitude with the gravity of what’s lost. Painful tinges arise as a weathered soul sends well wishes to a woman who set him free. Black and white footage records the artist with his real-life boat captain Ben and others working onboard a fishing boat in the Atlantic off the Northeast Coast. The grainy film captures a nearly tangible sense of loss from a defeated man. 

Memories of brighter days pierce through the fog, flipping the camera to scenes of St. Croix’s sandy beaches and golden hour sails. The incandescent reels embody the radiance of his past relationship. Chesney’s longtime director and collaborator, Shaun Silva, wields the opposing imagery to convey the stark contrast between his past and present.

“While it’s a simple country song,” Chesney says, “it’s the kind of song that can hold anyone. You don’t have to be on a fishing boat freezing to know this pain and gratitude for knowing someone who changed your life. And wherever they are, you know they’re living their best life, shining and doing the same thing for someone else—and that’s pretty rich.”

The poignancy resonates with anyone celebrating what once was—be it through diverging paths, break-up, illness, or death. Choosing to relive those moments so acutely, despite the bitter end, transforms something painful into a gift. To acknowledge the parts of yourself that were left behind and realize the lasting impact that changes you for the better allows you to heal and become whole again through gratitude. 

“We all have those people in our lives,” Chesney explains in an official statement about the song, “who set you on fire with possibilities, make everything mean more in the moment and forever after that. It’s so technicolor and alive, you may not even realize when you’re in it. But when it’s done, you have to smile because you’re so much more for knowing them, so much more because of every second you shared.”

Here And Now, released in May 2020, marks Chesney’s ninth No. 1 debut on the all-genre Billboard 200 albums chart. “Knowing You,” penned by Brett James (“Out Last Night,” “Spirit of the Storm,” “When the Sun Goes Down”), Adam James, and Kat Higgins, went to radio on February 22 as the album’s third single and impacts country radio Monday, March 15. As it currently stands, Chesney holds 31 Billboard Number Ones to his credit.

“Knowing You” stood out to the artist. The intentional space between slow burns and percussion-built climbing chorus reckons with “the memories, the feelings, the details of not just what happened, but how you were changed in such powerful ways.” Constructed in the vein of his early work, the traditional tune is yet another enduring classic that crowns Chesney as a defining artist of his generation and those to come. 

“I wanted to make a video where people could see it, even feel that connection and how it holds you going forward. To me, the people who touch your life in profound ways are everything, so this song—and this video—are for them.”

Watch Kenny Chesney’s new video for “Knowing You,” below.

Photo by Allister Ann

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