-early on in my career,very early on, you know, i’d been playinga lot of small bars and clubs where you can’t reallymove around much. if you move too far this way, the fiddle player’s bowhits you in the face. you move too far this way, you’re gonna get smackedby your guitar player. so, i had a chance to go out on the roadwith kenny chesney.
big tour, my first timebeing on this gigantic stage where you could run aroundlike an idiot. and he invited me to come backout for him for the encore, and i was wearing a pairof boots i’d never worn before. someone gave mea pair of cowboy boots at the meet and greet,and i thought, you know, i’ll put them onin case they’re out there. they can see me wearing them,so be a nice guy. bad idea.
so i put thesekind of clunky boots on, and i was singing the songwith kenny, and he had these, like,stairs that lead up these — they’re called ego-rizers. they can look really cool,overlooking the crowd. and i ran up these stairs and was up there looking aroundgoing, "this is awesome," and i thought,i could take the stairs down, or i could justbe a total badass
and just jump off this ledge onto the stage below,about six feet. chose to do that one, and i landed in thesekind of funky boots, and it felt likethe world’s biggest rubber band snapped inside my knee. it was just a crazy, intense,painful feeling. and i tried to stay upright,but i came crashing down. and kenny came over,kind of laughing
and thinkingi was kind of messing around. he looked at my face, and he knewi wasn’t messing around. but i was ableto finish the song i think through sheer fearof the crowd, as i always play. i never want to let them downor let myself down or look weak, so i powered my way through. i stopped wearing cowboy bootsa long time ago ’cause i move arounda little too much onstage
for that type of shoe. but it just hada really big sole, so maybe it looked tall, but when you tear your acland fall down, you don’t look cool. that was on a saturday night. got back to nashville,had surgery on a wednesday, and back out on the road friday with a new acl implantedin my knee.
many stories of chipped teeth and bruised liversand broken bones over the years, but that one sticks outthe most.