“That’s Why I’m Here”
Written by Shaye Smith and Mark Alan Springer
Radio & Records
#1 (1 week)
July 3, 1998
Kenny Chesney tops the chart with his strongest single yet.
The Road to No. 1
After two consecutive No. 1 singles – “When I Close My Eyes” and “She’s Got it All” – Chesney went top fifteen with “A Chance,” the second single from I Will Stand. He returned to the top with the album’s third single.
The No. 1
Yes, in a run of No. 1 singles that included artists like Reba McEntire, Brooks & Dunn, George Strait, and Steve Wariner, the best two songs came from Tim McGraw and Kenny Chesney.
Chesney modeled his own successful run at superstardom after McGraw, although he didn’t have the same consistent access to top drawer material. “That’s Why I’m Here” demonstrated his ability to identify a great song when given the opportunity, as well as his skill in delivering a strong lyric with emotional clarity.
It’s a powerful story about a man turning up late at night at his ex’s door, and fully understanding why she assumes he’s been drinking. Instead, he’s there to make amends for the horrible impact his alcoholism had on his loved ones, especially her.
It’s him taking one of the twelve steps in real time, without the expectation that he’ll be forgiven and that they’ll get back together. In fact, all he asks of her is to hear him tell his story at AA, so she can seem him take public responsibility for what he’s apologizing for in private.
Compare this treatment of AA to the recent Walker Hayes hit, and you’ll have a damn good measuring stick for how far the genre has fallen in the new century.
The Road From No. 1
The title track was released as the fourth single from I Will Stand, and it went top thirty. Chesney will close out the nineties with two more No. 1 singles. We’ll cover them both when we get to 1999.
“That’s Why I’m Here” gets an A.