After eight years of developing his career the slow and steady way, Kenny Chesney finally seems to be poised on the brink of major stardom. The country artist has lined up more than 60 U.S. tour dates

After eight years of developing his career the slow and steady way, Kenny Chesney finally seems to be poised on the brink of major stardom. The country artist has lined up more than 60 U.S. tour dates in support of his upcoming BNA album "No Shoes, No Shirt, No Problems," due April 23. Jamie O'Neal, Montgomery Gentry, and Phil Vassar will support on various dates for the trek, which runs through late August.

Chesney says that after two seasons on the George Strait tour and a year touring with Tim McGraw, he knew he was ready to headline. "The fans tell you when you're ready," he says. "I felt it last year on Tim's tour. Our star started to rise big-time." Indeed, since signing with BNA in 1995, Chesney has scored two double-platinum albums, one platinum album, and one gold album, including his 2002 greatest-hits collection, which spent two weeks at No. 1 on the Billboard Top Country Albums chart. That set is No. 14 on the Country Albums chart after 78 weeks.

"No Shoes, No Shirt, No Problems" is garnering pre-release airplay for the single "Young," which is No. 5 on Billboard's Hot Country Singles & Tracks chart. The album also includes a cover of Bruce Springsteen's "One Step Up," which Chesney says "has always been one of those songs I thought could be a country record, but I always felt it was untouchable. I've wanted to record it for a number of years, but I felt like people wouldn't take me seriously if I did." He says what has changed is that "I finally feel like I've lived it."

Chesney is up for top male vocalist at the 37th annual Academy of Country Music (ACM) Awards, to be handed out May 22 in Los Angeles. He also covers "Tush" on the ZZ Top tribute album "Sharp Dressed Men," due April 30 from RCA Nashville.

For Chesney's full itinerary, visit his official Web site. Here are his upcoming tour dates:

April 4: Estero, Fla. (TECO Arena)
April 5: Jacksonville, Fla. (Veterans Memorial Coliseum)
April 6: New Orleans (New Orleans Arena)
April 11: Portland, Maine. (Cumberland Civic Center)
April 12: Worcester, Mass. (Centrum)
April 13: State College, Pa. (Bryce Jordan Center)
April 14: Trenton, N.J. (Sovereign Bank Arena)
April 17: Valley Center, Kan. (Kansas Coliseum)
April 18: Tulsa, Okla. (Expo Square Pavilion)
April 19: Cape Girardeau, Mo. (Show Me Center)
April 20: Evansville, Ind. (Roberts Stadium)

Questions? Comments? Let us know: @billboard

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