Despite the early morning wake-up call, hits the stage with a smile on Tuesday at in New York's Rockefeller Center, the same day his latest album, , was released.
Hundreds turned out for Chesney's morning-show mini-concert, which featured the first single from , plus older favorites "Somewhere with You" and "Beer in Mexico."
There it is! Chesney makes his message clear during warm-ups. "I wanted to take my audience to a different place," after his performance. "You get to a point in your career, in your life, where you want to say something a little different."
Snap! The singer happily obliges a fan with . "I wanted to push my audience … without alienating them," Chesney said of the record. "That's why I took my time. I didn't do anything other than make a record. I'm glad I did that; my life needed it, I needed it and it was fun."
One more mic check, then we're live! "Music has always been a big part of my life," the star said. "I think it's human nature to let music do what it does to you in your soul. If I want to feel happy, music can make me feel happy. If I really want to feel sad, music can make me feel sad. If I just want to escape, music does that to me. I think that's the way it is for a lot of people."
Chesney makes a new friend during his time at 30 Rock – the Rock Center security dog!
The fan favorite gets the crowd going as the cameras roll at 8:30 a.m.
Chesney finishes his outdoor appearance with a chat with 's Matt Lauer and (a big country fan). "For me, music was a dream and a highway to go down," the singer said. "When I was in college and didn't really know what I wanted to do, music was always there. It is medicine and it's a lot of other things for me."