DM Collins of The DM Zone caught up with Mark Chesnutt at Country Thunder and did a fascinating interview with one of Country Music’s Superstars.
“Mark Chesnutt gave honky-tonk music back its soul,” noted music critic Robert K. Oermann. “When Chesnutt appeared on an arid musical landscape back in 1990, I dubbed him the hillbilly messiah,” Oermann confirmed. “I still feel that way today and I’ll feel that way decades from now.”
Mark did this without ever having to permanently leave his hometown of Beaumont, TX. Sure, he came to Nashville to make records and play the game, but he stayed rooted in Texas. “I quit my day job when I was seventeen and started playing the clubs. I was working seven nights a week, making a real good living. My daddy [Bob Chesnutt] was a musician in his younger days. He ran with George Jones and he saw George was hardly ever at home to raise his kids. Daddy gave it up to raise a family. He said, ‘Son, if you move to Nashville, you won’t be able to make a living in the clubs. There are too many people trying to make it. You’ll have to get a day job and your music will take a back seat.'” So Mark stayed in southeast Texas, where he planted his honky-tonk roots.
Songs from the “Outlaw” era are part of his heritage. Waylon Jennings, Willie Nelson and Kris Kristofferson, along with song crafters like Billy Joe Shaver and Guy Clark, all hailed from Texas. When Willie and Waylon declared their independence and staked their claim in the country music scene, both returned home to the Lone Star state.
Mark celebrated his first LP release in 1988. Twelve others followed, accompanied by a collection of greatest hits compilations. Chesnutt’s rule of recording remains: “I only record when I feel like I have something to say.” Outlaw is no exception. Contemporary fads and trends aside, Mark continues to pay tribute to the songs that “brought him to the dance”—the songs he played when he first became a musician. His consistency to remain true to his rule speaks volumes resounding his confidence and surefootedness that he’s not over-awed to lend his vocal talents to the original recordings. Mark is the star of country music’s last golden era paying tribute to the era before and?he continues to shine.
Twenty years later, Mark Chesnutt carries the torch in the footsteps of George Jones and Waylon Jennings to bring music from the Texas honky-tonks right to the country music fan’s door with his latest CD release, Outlaw (Saguaro Road Records). Outlaw features re-recordings of some of Mark’s personal heroes and life-long friends, including Shaver, Kristofferson, Willie and Waylon. The product of producer Pete Anderson (Dwight Yoakam/Michelle Shocked/Tanya Tucker), Outlaw is a true-denim-blue Mark Chesnutt-branded musical composition.
Mark’s dedication paid off. He developed a true blue fan base. Fans, he confides, “are the reason for my success.” His fans helped his records to climb the charts one right after the other making him one of Billboard’s Ten Most-Played Radio Artists of the ’90’s. Mark’s singles were some the decade’s most memorable; from the fun tempo “Bubba Shot The Jukebox” to emotional ballad “I’ll Think Of Something.” Mark is easily identified for his string of hits including “Brother Jukebox,” “Blame It On Texas,” “Old Flames Have New Names,” “Old Country,” “It Sure Is Monday,” “Almost Goodbye,” “I Just Wanted You To Know,” “Going Through The Big D,” “It’s A Little Too Late,” “Gonna Get A Life,” and one of his biggest, “I Don’t Want To Miss A Thing;” a song that held its position at the top of the charts for four consecutive weeks.
Of all the recorded highlights Mark has enjoyed, they take a back seat to his first love; Mark Chesnutt lives to perform on stage. “I just make records because I want people to come see my show,” he says with a grin. “Recording music for folks to just listen to music is great,” he says, “but I’ve got to be out there on stage making it.”
Fans who have seen him perform agree. Known as one of the industry’s hardest-working concert performers, maintaining a hefty tour schedule and steady presence in front of his fans, Mark’s dedication to deliver live music is unsurpassed. Mark has been on the road since 1990. Whether you hear Mark with a new release on the radio, or see his face on the cover of a new CD, folks can always find Mark doing what he was born to do: playing. “The clubs and honky tonks are home for me; it’s comfortable and I’m always with friends,” says Chesnutt.
The DM Zone is a syndicated, online television channel that is hosted across multiple video platforms across the Internet. With combined views exceeding 420,000 unique views over the last 18 months, the DM Zone is a compelling platform for politicians, authors, actors, athletes, musicians and other creative professionals. Host Dianemarie (DM) Collins interviews highly creative, talented professionals for this Online TV program. A veteran performer in acting, singing, dancing and choreography, DM has appeared in productions from Broadway and off-Broadway to nightclubs and dinner theaters throughout the country. DM has also been featured in numerous print advertisements as well as many voiceovers for radio, an actress in television commercials, and an actor in several feature films.
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