Kenny Chesney’s ‘Better Boat’ Finds Him Searching for Hope [Listen]
Written by Liz Rose and Travis Meadows, "Better Boat" centers around a person who is working to repair their life, wrapped around a peaceful melody created by soft acoustic guitar. Featuring haunting background vocals by Americana star Mindy Smith, Chesney uses the song as a metaphor for his experience in trying to help rebuild the U.S. and British Virgin Islands after they were ravaged by Hurricane Irma in 2017.
“Of all the songs on there, ‘Better Boat,’ I think really captures the emotion of that moment – and the months following. There’s an acceptance it takes to face those challenges and that uncertainty," he explains in a press release about the song's connection to his experience. "The lyric has that line, ‘I ride the waves I can’t control …’ And that’s exactly how this was, and in some ways, still is.”
The superstar has said that the album, Songs for the Saints, is a tribute to the islands he's called home for more than 15 years. The collection of songs captures the spirit and resilience of the people who live there. Chesney has made several significant contributions to the territory in the wake of the storm, even setting up a charity, Love for Love City Foundation, which sends donations and resources like food, water and medicine those affected by the devastation. He also rescued several displaced animals and flew two teens across the ocean to reunite with their mother in Philadelphia after their home in St. John was destroyed.
Meadows recorded his version of "Better Boat" for his most recent First Cigarette album. The Americana-leaning singer-songwriter is known for songs that find a man on the edge of deppresion, often slipping toward the darkness. His background makes him a more capable interpreter of that story but Chesney's "Better Boat" serves his purpose of bringing hope to those affected by the hurricanes, and from there all of us.
Did You Know?: Other well-known Travis Meadows songs include "Riser" by Dierks Bentley and "What We Ain't Got" by Jake Owen. He's also written songs cut by Eric Church, Brothers Osborne, Lindsay Ell and Randy Houser.
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Kenny Chesney (Feat. Mindy Smith)'s "Better Boat" Lyrics:
I ain't lonely, but I spend a lot of time alone / More than I'd like to, but I'm okay with staying home / My how the last few months have changed / I'm smilin' more despite the pain.
I breathe in, I breathe out / Got friends to call who let me talk about / What ain't working, what's still hurtin' / All the things I feel like cussing out / Now and then I let it go / I ride the waves I can't control / I'm learning how to build a better boat.
I hate waiting, ain't no patience in these hands / I'm not complaining, sometimes it's hard to change a man / I think I'm stronger than I was / I'll let God do what he does.
If it's working I don't know / When I get done, the thing may not float / But I'm learning how to build a better boat.