Scott Chesney’s CD an Exception to His Day Job

Scott Chesney’s CD an Exception to His Day Job

Wednesday, September 04, 2013

CD coverThere’s a moment listening to Scott Chesney’s single “You Knew Me When” that makes you think of James Taylor. Classic Taylor, from his “Sweet Baby James” days; 1971.  

Back then, Chesney was singing in coffeehouses and local clubs and the residence halls at Michigan State. His life was just starting to flesh out. Songwriting and performing were at its core. Taylor was among his favorite musical influences. 

Now, some 40 years later, the singer-songwriter and director of UNH’s residential life has had a lifelong dream come to fruition with the recent release of his first CD. 

Chesney began talking about making that CD in 1978, when they were still called records. He blames procrastination for the delay, and credits his wife, Kathy Irla-Chesney, director of housing, for finally making it happen. 

In May 2012, Irla-Chesney gave her husband a killer birthday present: a four-day singer/songwriter workshop in Asheville, North Carolina, with the folk musician David Wilcox. And, she arranged for his closest college friend, Chesney’s musical mentor, to go with him. 

“Spending four days performing with and being inspired by fellow musicians motivated me to finally do a CD,” Chesney says. He spent last year choosing and recording the 14 songs that appear on the CD, “Exceptions.” 

“Having been a songwriter now for 42 years, I had the benefit of choosing songs I had written during my entire songwriting life,” Chesney says. “It was a wonderful labor of love for me.”Scott Chesney

Those he chose—songs about people or situations that have impacted him throughout his life—led to the CD title.

“I believe that in life we encounter literally thousands of individuals and that for the most part, we pass like ships in the night.  If we are lucky there are a few people whose souls literally stick to us and become part of us. We carry them with us through life.  Indeed, they are an exception to the basic rule of life that we encounter but don’t impact people that much,” Chesney says.  

On Sept. 12, Chesney will perform selections from “Exception” at Durham’s Three Chimneys Inn as part of a benefit concert for the youth cancer support program On Belay. Friends Craig Werth and Delilah Poupore, who are heard on Chesney’s CD along with his daughter, Gabby, will also perform. “Exceptions” (available at iTunes and Amazon.com.) will be given to those who make a donation to On Belay. The event begins at 7 p.m.