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About Mark Chesnutt

Mark Nelson Chesnutt is an American country music singer and songwriter. Between 1990 and 1999, he had his greatest chart success recording for Universal Music Group Nashville's MCA and Decca branches, with a total of eight albums between those two labels. During this timespan, Chesnutt also charted twenty top-ten hits on the Billboard Hot Country Songs charts, of which eight reached number one: "Brother Jukebox", "I'll Think of Something", "It Sure Is Monday", "Almost Goodbye", "I Just Wanted You to Know", "Gonna Get a Life", "It's a Little Too Late", and a cover of Aerosmith's "I Don't Want to Miss a Thing". His first three albums for MCA along with a 1996 Greatest Hits package issued on Decca are all certified platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America ; 1994's What a Way to Live, also issued on Decca, is certified gold. After a self-titled album in 2002 on Columbia Records, Chesnutt has continued to record predominantly on independent labels.

Chesnutt is known for his neotraditionalist country and honky-tonk influences, with frequent stylistic comparisons to George Jones. He has recorded several cover songs as both singles and album cuts, including covers of Hank Williams Jr., John Anderson, Don Gibson, Conway Twitty, and Charlie Rich. Artists with whom he has collaborated include Jones, Tracy Byrd, Vince Gill, and Alison Krauss. Mark Wright produced all but one of his albums released in the 1990s, while his work since 2005 has been produced by Jimmy Ritchey. Chesnutt has also won two awards from the Country Music Association: the Horizon Award and Vocal Event of the Year, both in 1993.

Mark Nelson Chesnutt was born on September 6, 1963, in Beaumont, Texas. He drew musical influence from his father, Bob Chesnutt, who was a singer and record collector. Chesnutt first played drums as a child after receiving a drum kit as a Christmas gift, but at his father's persuasion, he stopped playing drums and chose to focus on singing instead. He dropped out of school in the eleventh grade to begin playing in clubs around southeast Texas. When he turned 17, his father began to take him to Nashville, Tennessee, to begin recording. For the next ten years, he began to record on small regional labels while he was the house band for local Beaumont nightclub Cutters. By the late 1980s, he had released eight singles, which would later be released together as an album titled Doing My Country Thing. Record producer Tony Brown heard one of Chesnutt's independent releases, and recommended him to Mark Wright, a songwriter, session musician, and record producer who helped Chesnutt sign with the Nashville branch of MCA Records in 1990. The same year, Bob Chesnutt died of a heart attack.

Chesnutt released his major-label debut Too Cold at Home in 1990. It accounted for five chart singles on the Billboard Hot Country Singles & Tracks charts. The first was "Too Cold at Home", written by Bobby Harden of The Harden Trio. This song reached a peak of number three on Billboard, while reaching number one on the country music charts published by Radio & Records, Gavin Report, and Cashbox. The second single was "Brother Jukebox", which was written by Paul Craft, originally released as a single by Don Everly of The Everly Brothers in 1977, and also recorded by Keith Whitley on his 1989 album I Wonder Do You Think of Me. Chesnutt's rendition of the song became his first number-one single on Hot Country Songs in 1991, while "Blame It on Texas", "Your Love Is a Miracle", and "Broken Promise Land" all peaked within the top ten of the same chart by year's end. "Broken Promise Land" was previously released by Waylon Jennings in 1986. Contributing musicians to Too Cold at Home included Richard Bennett, David Briggs, Mark O'Connor, Hargus "Pig" Robbins, Matt Rollings, Brent Rowan, and Glenn Worf. Wright produced the album and provided background vocals on some tracks. He also wrote or co-wrote five of its ten tracks including both "Blame It on Texas" and "Your Love Is a Miracle". Also included on the album was Chesnutt's rendition of "Friends in Low Places", which was released as a single in late 1990 by Garth Brooks.

Too Cold at Home was met with generally positive critical and commercial reception. Alanna Nash of Entertainment Weekly praised Chesnutt's singing voice and honky-tonk style, but felt that the album had too many cover songs. Brian Mansfield of AllMusic compared the album's sound to Western swing and George Jones. In 1994, Too Cold at Home earned a platinum certification from the Recording Industry Association of America for U.S. shipments of one million copies. In addition, the Country Music Association nominated him for the 1991 Horizon Award .

Chesnutt's second album, 1992's Longnecks & Short Stories, also earned a platinum certification. In order of release, its singles were "Old Flames Have New Names", "I'll Think of Something", "Bubba Shot the Jukebox", and "Ol' Country" . "I'll Think of Something", previously a single for Hank Williams Jr. in 1974, became Chesnutt's second number-one single on Billboard in 1992. The other three singles all made top ten on Billboard. The album included many of the same session musicians as its predecessor, along with guest vocals from George Jones on "Talkin' to Hank", and both Alison Krauss and Vince Gill on "It's Not Over". The latter was originally recorded by Reba McEntire, while the closing track "Who Will the Next Fool Be?" was originally recorded by Charlie Rich. Chesnutt noted in a 1992 news article in The Tennessean that he was pleased to have recorded a duet with Jones, whom he considered a musical idol. He also noted that "Bubba Shot the Jukebox" had been serviced "as a joke" by Nashville song promoters and was not taken seriously by other artists, but he felt that the song had potential. The song was not originally intended to be a single, but was selected as one after a number of stations on the Billboard survey played the song frequently enough for it to enter the charts. Mansfield wrote in AllMusic that the album "heralded the emergence of a Texas voice that contained both the knack for humor... and the depth for heartache". Nash praised the song variety, highlighting the singles and "It's Not Over" in particular, but felt that Chesnutt's voice was "a little too laid back".

This article uses material from the Wikipedia article "Mark Chesnutt", which is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 3.0.

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