Kenny Chesney Spreads The Love To Boston Bombing Victims

Don Dahler, CBS News

He's one of the kings of country music. Kenny Chesney is like a 100-watt bulb in a 50-watt socket -- his energy is overwhelming.

Dahler asked, "Does this ever feel like a job?"

"Is it hard work? It's more work than people imagine," Chesneyreplied. "But is it rewarding? The moment that I get to go up there onstage and look at all those people in the eye, and they look back at me-- it's an unbelievable feeling. And sometimes it's like a revival outthere."

That passion has made Chesney one of the biggest names in country music, with 14 albums and more than 20 Number One singles.

He has created music that energizes millions of fans -- fans who may be surprised at what he's up to next.

He decided not to tour next year. "I want to concentrate onmaking the best record I can make, you know? And so I'm going to do alot of writing. I'm going to do a lot of reconnecting, hopefully, withfamily and people I haven't seen, 'cause I've been out here on thistreadmill for a while."

Dahler caught up with Chesney at the last stop on his five-month longtour: Gillette Stadium in the Boston suburb of Foxboro, Mass., not aplace that typically comes to mind when you think of country music.

"This is a very passionate town," Chesney said. "They're passionateabout sports. They're passionate about life. They're passionate aboutmusic and food. And they work really hard. And those are all the thingsthat I grew up on."

But Chesney's connection with his Boston area fans stretches farbeyond the parking lot of his sold-out shows. He was in Florida, on aday off from touring, when news of the Boston Marathon bombing broke.

"When I saw this happen, and I saw this arrogant look on these kids'faces . . . it pissed me off," he said, "and I thought about therelationship through music that I've had with all the people that havecome to play over the years, that's what led me to do something."

What he did was start the Spread the Love fund, named after a song onhis latest record. Proceeds from the song will go into the fund to helpfinance the current and future care for amputee victims of the bombing.

Whilein Massachusetts, Chesney took a tour of the Boston Medical Center(where the fund will be allocated). The hospital was just blocks fromthe bombing.

Dr. Andy Ulrich described the day of the blast: "We're the closest.We got the earliest, the quickest. And they just come in. So we got aquick phone call that said something happened. And within minutes,ambulances were backing up with two in the back, three in the back. . . .We had far more than we could handle here."

Chesney also met with some blast victims who will benefit from the fund, such as dance instructor Adrianne Haslet.

She told Chesney, "The music means a lot to all of us. I know, being adancer, it can change your entire day. And hearing music that makes youwant to move can certainly help you become more mobile. So I appreciateit."

Dahler first met Haslet less than two weeks after the Boston attack,when she recalled the bombing: "I said there's something wrong with myfoot. And he looked down and grabbed onto my leg and lifted it up andjust started screaming. It was terrifying because I was just losing somuch blood I thought that, that was it."

Her very expensiveprosthetic (a "dancing leg," which can cost between $75,000 and$100,000) will be subsidized by Spread the Love.

Celeste Corchoran lost both her legs. "It is a huge adjustment," shesaid. "It's really hard to get used to what your body now looks like.And as a double amputee, you know, it's encouraging to hear aboutkeeping everything going because the reality is, this is for the rest ofour lives. We want to keep as active and as normal -- our new normal,you know -- as we possibly can."

"I left there today so thankful that I wrote that song," Chesney toldDahler. "And now here we were in Boston, helping people that I've nevermet through music to get them back to some sort of normalcy in theirlife - [it's] pretty special."

As Kenny Chesney steps off the stage for some well-earned R&R,he's hoping his music will continue to reach the people who need itmost.

"I think music is the most powerful thing that we have," he said. "Ido believe that music has the ability to give people hope, to healpeople, like nothing else does."


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