Kenny Chesney on Singing With Miranda Lambert: 'She's Got So Much Soul and Grit'


Kenny Chesney is bringing "American Kids" straight to the, well, American kids.

The country superstar is set for a sure-to-be-show-stopping performance on Wednesday's CMT Music Awards, live from downtown Nashville. While an array of A-listers will take the stage inside the Bridgestone Arena during the show, Chesney is taking his set to the streets - with fireworks.

"There's an incredible energy out in the streets," Chesney told ET just after sound check on Tuesday night. "The people aren't in a formal environment, so they can just have fun. Just enjoy the night, scream as loud as they want and not worry about who's next to them. As awards show performances go, being out on Lower Broadway, where I played for tips when I first came to town, to some of the most hardcore country music fans, what could be better?"

WATCH: Kenny Chesney Opens Up About 'The Big Revival' and Writing About Women

And for Chesney, even while his current single "Wild Child" is blowing up the radio, there's just something special about The Big Revival's lead single.

"'American Kids' has been such a great song for us," he says. "I looked out at those faces on Broadway [during rehearsal], all those dreams and stories, and I knew that song wasn't just for me and the people growing up where I was, but people everywhere.

"It's as much theirs as mine," he adds. "Maybe more theirs even, because the way people sing it back to us out on the road, you can tell it's not just fun, they mean it."

PICS: Behind the Scenes of 'American Kids'

Meanwhile, Chesney fans in Chicago saw an unforgettable set earlier this week, when Miranda Lambert joined her pal on-stage for a headline-making rendition of "You and Tequila."

"She's got so much soul and grit, heart and the ability to get to the core of a song," Chesney gushes. "Thinking about what song would make sense, well, she's the kinda woman who understands that complicated feeling of waiting for something that's not good for you but feels so good."

And for the record, Chesney raves: "It was awesome being up there with her." As for any potential in-studio collaboration, Chesney is keeping mum.

Chesney is one of many artists lending their talents to Wednesday's show, including Carrie Underwood, Luke Bryan, Eric Church, Jake Owen, and an unprecedented collaboration between Zedd and Lady Antebellum, among others.

Keep clicking ETonline for exclusive backstage interviews and red carpet coverage from Nashville.