Welcome to the Fishbowl is the fourteenth studio album by American country music artist Kenny Chesney, released on June 19, 2012 by Blue Chair and Columbia Records.[2] The album includes a live version of "You and Tequila" with Grace Potter.[3]

The first single from this album "Feel Like a Rock Star", which is duet with Tim McGraw, was released in April 2012.[4] Its second single, "Come Over", was released on May 14, 2012[5] This song reached number one on the Hot Country Songs chart. "El Cerrito Place", the album's third single, was originally recorded by Charlie Robison on his 2004 album Good Times.[6] Chesney's version includes a backing vocal from Grace Potter.


The album's title came from a conversation Chesney had with his football-playing friends. Chesney told USA Today that when one said, "I didn't realize your life was like this," he replied, "Hey, man, welcome to the fishbowl."[7]

Commercial performance

The album debuted at number 2 on the Billboard 200 with first-week sales of 193,000 copies in the US, behind Justin Bieber's Believe.[8] As of January 2013, the album has sold 592,286 copies in the US.[9]

Critical reception

Professional ratings
Aggregate scores
Review scores
About.com3/5 stars11px11px11px11px[11]
Allmusic3/5 stars11px11px11px11px[13]
American Songwriter4/5 stars11px11px11px11px[14]
Entertainment WeeklyB–[15]
Omaha World-Herald2/4 stars11px11px11px[16]
Rolling Stone3/5 stars11px11px11px11px[17]
Roughstock4/5 stars11px11px11px11px[18]
Taste of Country4/5 stars11px11px11px11px[19]
USA Today2.5/4 stars11px11px11px[20]

Upon its release, Welcome to the Fishbowl received generally positive reviews from most music critics.[10] At Metacritic, which assigns a weighted average score out of 100 to reviews and ratings from mainstream critics, the album received a metascore of 64, based on 7 reviews.[10]

The album has garnered positive reviews from AbsolutePunk, American Songwriter, The Boston Globe, Entertainment Weekly, Roughstock, Taste of Country and the USA Today. At AbsolutePunk, Gregory Robson gave the album an 80%, and wrote that "Kenny Chesney's fifteenth studio album is nowhere near his best and nowhere near his worst. What it is though is occasionally pleasing, horribly derivative and way too self-indulgent."[12] Robson went on to state that "Welcome to the Fishbowl is anything but first-rate. More albums like this though, and Chesney himself just might become a caricature of himself."[12] Grady Smith at Entertainment Weekly graded the album to be a B- effort, and added that "Chesney's albums have always been considerably more wistful than his radio persona, but Welcome to the Fishbowl's tunes, while well wrought, can be downright dour. The tonal shift is fine — the problem is that these weepies often come off less like authentic autobiography than downbeat Nashville role-playing. (The too-sleek production and ponderous, stretched-out tempos don't help.)"[15] In addition, Smith wrote that "Fishbowl reveals less about the star's true interior life than ever."[15]

The album received four-out-of-five stars from American Songwriter, Roughstock and Taste of Country. American Songwriter music critic Eric Allen noted that "Fishbowl displays a serious yearning to stretch and dig a little deeper into life’s foibles, as if Chesney is trying to figure them out himself, but in a good way."[14] Furthermore, Allen evoked how "Welcome to the Fishbowl still manages to sound highly personal and introspective. Chesney has an uncanny knack for finding top-shelf material which sounds autobiographical and mixing it with his own to craft a uniquely distinguishable musical statement."[14] Matt Bjorke of Roughstock alluded to how "Welcome To The Fishbowl should easily join Kenny Chesney's past albums as #1-selling country records and there's no doubt that it's also amongst the best in his career, a career that is as strong now as it was promising 20 years ago".[18] Taste of Country's Billy Dukes called it " album to turn to with frequency."[19]

The moderately positive reviews come from The Boston Globe and the USA Today, which The Boston Globe music critic Stuart Munro noted the album for being "As consistent and meticulously constructed as ever, “Welcome to the Fishbowl” is die-cast Chesney", giving the album three and a half out of five stars, which is taken from the Metacritic assigned score.[21] Jerry Shirver of the USA Today rated the album a two and a half out of four stars, and said that "Though the arrangements of these dozen tunes are up to date and his voice retains that bland average-Joe quality that the masses and radio programmers adore, most of the themes are calculated standard issue."[20]

However, the album received mixed reviews from, Allmusic, BBC Music, Country Weekly, Omaha World-Herald and the Rolling Stone. The worst review for the album came in from Jessica Nicholson of Country Weekly, who based on Metacritic assigned score rated the album a two and a half out of five stars, pointed to how " the album’s bound to leave some fans hoping Kenny will book another trip to the islands with his trusty acoustic and a cold drink, if only to find a balance between his previously lighthearted fare and the brooding material that abounds on this effort."[22] Moreover, Nicholson vowed that "the superstar delves headlong into melancholy."[22]

The three out of five star reviews were from, Allmusic, BBC Music, which is based on the Metacritic assigned score, and the Rolling Stone. To this, Robert Silva of highlighted that "While fans of the more upbeat Chesney may complain, Welcome to the Fishbowl shows Chesney continuing to evolve in ways that are encouraging."[11] Allmusic's Stephen Thomas Erlewine alluded to how "this is a far cheerier affair" that "the cheeky title suggests".[13] In closing, Erlewine stated that "Wedded to this warmth is a crisp clean sheen, a sound so bright that it threatens to get goofy when Chesney and crew rock out -- they're no longer as urgent as they were even five years earlier, which gives the gurgling swing of the title track a stiff white-boy funkiness that isn't necessarily alienating -- but such chipper charm permeates the entirety of Welcome to the Fishbowl, turning it into an everyday feel-good record, the kind that generates moments of warmth when heard fleetingly on the radio, at the grocery store, in a doctor's office, at work, or even at home."[13] Leonie Cooper of BBC Music evoked how the album is "aimed squarely at the mainstream."[23] The Rolling Stone music critic Chuck Eddy called this a "Fairly depressive, in total – but these days, Chesney sounds more convincing when he's less upbeat."[17] At Omaha World-Herald, Kevin Coffey noted how the album "has the party vibe some Chesney fans will be looking for, but a closer look at the lyrics reveals it’s a rant against paparazzi, celebrities and a culture that glorifies everyone’s 15 minutes of fame."[16]

Track listing

1."Come Over"4:09
2."Feel Like a Rock Star" (with Tim McGraw)3:28
3."Sing 'Em Good My Friend"4:38
4."Welcome to the Fishbowl"
5."I'm a Small Town"Keith Gattis4:38
6."El Cerrito Place"Gattis5:52
7."Makes Me Wonder"3:13
8."While He Still Knows Who I Am"4:16
9."Time Flies"3:37
10."To Get to You (55th and 3rd)"
  • Chesney
  • Ewing
11."Always Gonna Be You"Mike Reid5:16
12."You and Tequila" (live with Grace Potter)4:49


  • David Angell – strings
  • Monisa Angell – strings
  • Janet Askey – strings
  • Wyatt Beard – keyboards, background vocals
  • Shannon Brown – background vocals
  • Pat Buchanan – electric guitar, harmonica
  • Buddy Cannon – background vocals
  • Melonie Cannon – background vocals
  • Jim Chapman – background vocals
  • Kenny Chesney – lead vocals
  • Jon Conley – acoustic guitar, background vocals
  • David Davidson – strings
  • Scott Ducaj – trumpet
  • Chris Dunn – trombone
  • Conni Ellisor – strings
  • Shannon Finnegan – background vocals
  • Justin Francis – background vocals
  • Jim Gairrett – acoustic guitar

  • Don Lepore – background vocals
  • Josiah Lightle – background vocals
  • Shane McAnally – background vocals
  • Randy McCormick – Hammond B-3 organ, piano, synthesizer
  • Tim McGraw – vocals on "Feel Like A Rock Star"
  • Richard Madenfort – electric guitar
  • Steve Marshall – bass guitar
  • Clayton Mitchell – electric guitar
  • Carole Rabinowitz-Neuen – strings
  • John Osborne – background vocals
  • Mary Kathryn Van Osdale – strings
  • Gary Van Osdale – strings
  • Sean Paddock – drums
  • Larry Paxton – bass guitar, string arrangements
  • Kathryn Plummer – strings
  • Grace Potter – vocals on "You and Tequila"
  • Gary Prim – piano
  • Mickey RaphaelJew's Harp

  • Mike Reid – piano
  • Sarighandi D Reist – strings
  • Michael Rhodes – bass guitar
  • Gemmi Richardson – background vocals
  • Mason Richardson – background vocals
  • Shaun Silva – background vocals
  • Pamela Sixfin – strings
  • Joanna Smith – background vocals
  • Jere Smithers – background vocals
  • Julia Tanner – strings
  • Christian Teal – strings
  • Alan Umstead – strings
  • Catherine Umstead – strings
  • Scott Vestal – banjo
  • Christina Walker – background vocals
  • Kristin Wilkenson – string arrangements
  • John Willis – acoustic guitar, gut string guitar, mandolin
  • Karen Winkleman – strings
  • Craig Wiseman – background vocals

Charts and certifications


Chart (2012) Peak
Australian Albums Chart[24] 34
Canadian Albums Chart[25] 5
UK Country Albums Chart[26] 3
US Billboard 200[25] 2
US Billboard Top Country Albums[25] 1


Region Certification
United States (RIAA)[27] Gold


Year Single Peak chart positions Certifications
(sales threshold)
US Country US Country Airplay US CAN
2012 "Feel Like a Rock Star" (with Tim McGraw) 11 40 33 * US: Gold[28]
"Come Over" 1 23 48 * US: Platinum[29]
"El Cerrito Place" 17 10 72
"—" denotes releases that did not chart
Preceded by
Punching Bag by Josh Turner
Top Country Albums number-one album
July 7–21, 2012
Succeeded by
Uncaged by Zac Brown Band


  1. "Kenny Chesney Renews Deal With Sony Music Nashville". Country Music Television. June 4, 2012. Retrieved June 5, 2012. 
  2. Cooper, Brittany Joy (March 29, 2012). "Kenny Chesney Reveals Cover Art for New 'Welcome to the Fishbowl' Album". Taste of Country. Retrieved May 15, 2012. 
  3. Conaway, Alanna (April 3, 2012). "Kenny Chesney Reveals Track Listing to New Album 'Welcome to the Fishbowl'". Taste of Country. Retrieved May 15, 2012. 
  4. "Kenny Chesney, Tim McGraw Debut at No. 13". Country Music Television. April 9, 2012. Retrieved May 15, 2012. 
  5. "Kenny Chesney Unveils New Single, "Come Over"". Country Music Television. May 14, 2012. Retrieved May 15, 2012. 
  6. Lankford, Jr., Robert. "Good Times". Allmusic. Retrieved 18 September 2012. 
  7. Mansfield, Brian (March 29, 2012). "Kenny Chesney's 'Welcome to the Fishbowl' coming June 19". USA Today. Retrieved May 15, 2012. 
  9. Matt Bjorke (January 3, 2013). "Country Album Chart News For January 3, 2013: Taylor Swift Still #1; Hunter Hayes Gold". Roughstock. Retrieved January 3, 2013. 
  10. 10.0 10.1 10.2 "Welcome to the Fishbowl, Ratings, Credits, and More". Metacritic. Retrieved January 31, 2013. 
  11. 11.0 11.1 Silva, Robert (June 19, 2012). "Kenny Chesney - 'Welcome to the Fishbowl' Album Review". Retrieved January 31, 2013. 
  12. 12.0 12.1 12.2 Robson, Gregory (June 25, 2012). "Kenny Chesney - Welcome to the Fishbowl - Album Review". AbsolutePunk. Retrieved January 31, 2013. 
  13. 13.0 13.1 13.2 Erlewine, Stephen Thomas (June 15, 2012). "Welcome to the Fishbowl - Kenny Chesney : Songs, Reviews, Credits, Awards". Allmusic. Retrieved January 31, 2013. 
  14. 14.0 14.1 14.2 Allen, Eric (June 28, 2012). "Kenny Chesney: Welcome to the Fishbowl". American Songwriter. Retrieved January 31, 2013. 
  15. 15.0 15.1 15.2 Smith, Grady (June 14, 2012). "Welcome to the Fishbowl review - Kenny Chesney Review". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved January 31, 2013. 
  16. 16.0 16.1 Coffey, Kevin (June 13, 2012). "Kenny Chesney's 'Welcome to the Fishbowl'". Omaha World-Herald. Retrieved April 29, 2013. 
  17. 17.0 17.1 Eddy, Chuck (June 19, 2012). "Kenny Chesney: Welcome to the Fishbowl (BNA)". Rolling Stone. Retrieved January 31, 2013. 
  18. 18.0 18.1 Bjorke, Matt (June 18, 2012). "Album Review: Kenny Chesney - Welcome to the Fishbowl". Roughstock. Retrieved January 31, 2013. 
  19. 19.0 19.1 Dukes, Billy (June 20, 2012). "Kenny Chesney, 'Welcome to the Fishbowl' – Album Review". Taste of Country. Retrieved January 31, 2013. 
  20. 20.0 20.1 Shriver, Jerry (June 18, 2012). "Kenny Chesney travels familiar roads on 'Fishbowl'". USA Today. Retrieved January 31, 2013. 
  21. Munro, Stuart (June 19, 2012). "CD REVIEW: Kenny Chesney, 'Welcome to the Fishbowl' - Music". The Boston Globe. Retrieved January 31, 2013. 
  22. 22.0 22.1 Nicholson, Jessica (June 19, 2012). "Welcome to the Fishbowl by Kenny Chesney". Country Weekly. Retrieved January 31, 2013. 
  23. Cooper, Leonie (July 2, 2012). "Music - Review of Kenny Chesney - Welcome to the Fishbowl". BBC Music. Retrieved January 31, 2013. 
  24. "Kenny Chesney - Welcome To The Fishbowl". Ultratop 50. Hung Medien. Retrieved July 21, 2012. 
  25. 25.0 25.1 25.2 "Chart listing for Welcome to the Fishbowl". Billboard. Retrieved June 28, 2012. 
  27. "American album certifications – Kenny Chesney – Welcome to the Fishbowl". Recording Industry Association of America.  If necessary, click Advanced, then click Format, then select Album, then click SEARCH
  28. "American single certifications – Kenny Chesney – Feel Like a Rockstar". Recording Industry Association of America.  If necessary, click Advanced, then click Format, then select Single, then click SEARCH
  29. "American single certifications – Kenny Chesney – Come Over". Recording Industry Association of America.  If necessary, click Advanced, then click Format, then select Single, then click SEARCH

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