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Chesnutt keeps his promise

By Jeffrey B. Remz, September 1997

Page 2...

Wright says, "It got to the point where we were probably going two separate ways a few years back after we did four albums together. It's like anything. You get away from it. You stand back and see what your differences are. You reapproach. It's probably better than it ever was. "

Another part of Chesnutt's past that burns brightly is the influence of his father, Bob. He was a regional artist, who tried making a go of it in Nashville, but never did.

Besides putting money on the table, Chesnutt also let his son play his guitar when he was five.

His parents encouraged his musical career, taking him to clubs in his hometown of Beaumont, Texas. Chesnutt quit high school to pursue his musical dream. He played the clubs, mainly around Beaumont for a decade cutting eight regional singles.

Chesnutt also began making the trek to Nashville in search of a recording career in the big leagues. While there, he found the song, "Too Cold At Home."

A tape of Chesnutt's recording found its way to an MCA Records promotions person in Houston. The song wound its way to MCA executive Tony Brown. After seeing Chesnutt in concert in Beaumont, Brown signed him.

"Too Cold at Home" was Chesnutt's first single, reached the top three and charted for five months.

His debut album of the same name came out exactly six years ago. "Brother Jukebox" was his first number one hit that same year. Hits like "Blame It on Texas" and "Your Love Is a Miracle" soon followed.

The elder Chesnutt lived long enough to see his son release his debut, but died of a heart attack a few months later.

Chesnutt's career mushroomed with "Long Necks and Short Stories" in 1992" and hits "Old Flames Have New Names," "I'll Think of Something" and "Bubba."

"Old Country," "It Sure Is Monday" and "Almost Goodbye," his 1993 disc, also were hits. He won the Country Music Association's Horizon Award that year.

"Wings" resulted in a few more hits, but did not do as well. Last year's greatest hits CD put him back on radio with "Let It Rain."

As for the state of country music, Chesnutt says he believes it is in good hands - at least among those who hone the traditional line like Georges Jones and Strait.

While not singling out any of today's hot young hunks with hats - "I'm not saying...you know who they are" - he questioned their talent. He said the problem was that anyone who was good looking and could sing could score a record deal.

Without naming names (although it seemed quite clear he had the Garth Brooks's of the country music world in mind), Chesnutt also made it clear he had little love for those putting rock in their country.

Labelled one of the last vestiges of traditional country music helping preserve the flame, Chesnutt sticks to his word and roots on "Thank God For Believers."

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