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Music / Mark Chesnutt

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Country Music singer who broke through in The '90s as part of the "neotraditionalist" movement, bringing a twangy honky-tonk sound with a modern edge.

A native of Beaumont, Texas, Mark Nelson Chesnutt (born September 6, 1963) broke through in 1990 with his debut album Too Cold at Home on MCA Records. The album produced five Top 10 hits and sold platinum, a sales figure matched by his next two discs as well. His first 12 singles all made Top 10, as did 8 more by decade's end. Starting with his 1994 album What a Way to Live, MCA moved him to Decca Records, which it had reactivated as a country label.

Chesnutt's discography is dominated by a twangy fiddle-and-steel sound, indebted to honky-tonk music of old, and codified by covers of Keith Whitley, Waylon Jennings, and Hank Williams Jr.... so it should probably come as a shock that his biggest hit came at the end of the decade with a cover of Aerosmith's "I Don't Want to Miss a Thing", a song supposedly forced upon him by the label. After Decca was reformatted in the late 1990s, he moved to MCA Nashville and then to Columbia Records for one unsuccessful album each. All of his subsequent releases have been on smaller independent labels, and while his radio days are long past, he has continued to maintain a twangy and traditionally-influenced sound.


  • Doing My Country Thing (1988)
  • Too Cold at Home (1990)
  • Longnecks & Short Stories (1992)
  • Almost Goodbye (1993)
  • What a Way to Live (1994)
  • Wings (1995)
  • Greatest Hits (1996)
  • Thank God for Believers (1997)
  • I Don't Want to Miss a Thing (1999)
  • Lost in the Feeling (2000)
  • Mark Chesnutt (2002)
  • Savin' the Honky Tonk (2004)
  • Heard It in a Love Song (2006)
  • Rollin' with the Flow (2008)
  • Outlaw (2010)
  • Tradition Lives (2016)
  • Duets (2017)
  • The Early Years (2017)

Tropes present:

  • Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking: Present in "I Might Even Quit Lovin' You":
    Gonna reach way down inside and find a brand new will to live
    Got plans to forget about the way you made me feel
    Gonna walk outside one night and turn your memory loose
    And when I do, I might even quit lovin' you
    And when I do, I might even quit lovin' you
  • Break Up Song: "Goin' Through the Big D". The "D" stands for "divorce".
  • Can't Get Away with Nuthin': "Wrong Place, Wrong Time", where a young man and his trouble-plagued brother-in-law go to a seedy biker bar hoping for a boys' night out, without knowledge of their wives (as they'd assuredly be in deep trouble if they were found to have gone out, much less merely rumored to have been out on the town) and wind up in jail after a major brawl breaks out. (The brother-in-law had gotten into a fight with the bouncer after he was caught dancing with his (the bouncer's) wife.) The judge sets bail and, with no money between them to come close to covering the cost, concede they have no choice but to tell their wives and admit they were out on a boys' night out. The tone of "What in the world are we gonna tell our wives" implies neither one of them were allowed to go out that evening, or else.
  • Christmas Songs: He covered "What Child Is This?" on the multi-artist A Country Christmas in 1997.
  • Hating on Monday: "It Sure Is Monday":
    I had a ball Friday, Saturday, and Sunday
    But it's all over now, and it sure is Monday
  • Insane Troll Logic: Presented by the eponymous Bubba in "Bubba Shot the Jukebox" after he does the title action:
    Reckless discharge of a gun, that's what the officers were claimin'
    Bubba hollered, "Reckless, hell, I hit just where I was aimin'!"
  • Loudness War: Averted with his 1990 albums due to Mark Wright's production style.
  • Lyrical Cold Open: "Brother Jukebox" and "The Lord Loves the Drinkin' Man"
  • Lyrical Dissonance: "Goin' Through the Big D" is most upbeat song you'll ever hear about a guy complaining he got shorted in his divorce settlement.
  • Really 17 Years Old: The title couple in "She Was". The female of the couple invokes this in the lyric "He was 18, she wasn't / But she said she was".
  • Re-release the Song: Thank God for Believers features "It's Not Over", a track lifted from Longnecks & Short Stories five years prior. Chesnutt chose to put the song on Thank God for Believers because the album was one song short, and he had always wanted to put "It's Not Over" out as a single.