Kenny Chesney has been playing to sold-out stadiums and arenas for months on end, and his new album released Oct. 28, so it’s safe to say he’s been a little busy. The singer-songwriter tells Rolling Stone Country that he is planning on using 2017 to step back a bit and rest.

"It's going to allow me to take a really authentic deep breath,” he says, referencing a year and a half on the road doing big shows. "Like my grandmother said, 'Chocolate cake is great, but enough will make you sick.’ So we're putting the cake away for just a little bit and then we'll put it back out on the table."

Though he’s not completely going dark — he’s got seven shows on the books — he says the time will be good for him to be able to be creative again. Touring and songwriting don’t mix well for the artist, he explains, which is part of the reason Cosmic Hallelujah’s release was pushed back from July to October.

"I hate trying to be creative in the middle of a tour. I hate it. And I did that some on this record,” he recalls. "But I was able to really channel that exhaustion and really take a look and try to back away from what I worked on for so long. Because I was afforded that time... I was able to really connect and find some songs that made the connection a lot stronger."

A duet with pop star Pink titled “Setting the World on Fire" was the catalyst for a lot of the changes the album experienced, and ended up being released as the second single, after "Noise."

“It made me stop and re-evaluate,” Chesney says. "And then I did a lot of soul searching. I'm very proud of 'Noise' and I think it was a very important song — it's even more relevant now. But I wanted my album to be released on a human emotion rather than a social statement."

Chesney is set to receive two unique honors coming up, the BMI President’s Award and the CMA Pinnacle Award. He says the BMI award means a lot to him because it honors his songwriting, which he feels is the core of who he is as an artist.

"I do believe that my whole life started as a songwriter and what people see of me up there onstage is one thing, but all of that started with my creative spirit and wanting to find commonality with people through a song and that's hard for me to do," he reflects.

"It's very special because if the BMI award is about being creative, the CMA award is about my investment in the fans and their investment back in me and how beautiful that's been."

Chesney will accept the CMA Pinnacle Award, which has only been given to two other artists — Garth Brooks and Taylor Swift — at the CMA Awards Nov. 2.

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