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Mark Chesnutt

Wings – 1995 (Decca)

Reviewed by Jeffrey B. Remz

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CDs by Mark Chesnutt

Traditional country and Mark Chesnutt go hand in hand. but that does not mean the Texan's latest is the same routine affair. Opting to replace long-time producer Mark Wright with label head Tony Brown, Chesnutt mines the honky tonk/traditional sound and delivers a chest full of nuggets. That is evident from the leadoff "As the Honky Tonk Turns," one of two songs he helped write. The easy-going track musically captures the spice of life among the down-and-lonely types. "Wrong Place, Wrong Time" continues the tonkin' story line. As usual, Chesnutt picked a slew of top-notch songs, always one of his strengths. Hot songwriter Jim Lauderdale offered "The King of Broken Hearts," spearheaded by Rob Hajacos' fiddle, and "I May Be a Fool." Chesnutt hits the mark on "Pride's Not Hard to Swallow," a 1972 hit for Hank Jr. The usual sessionmen do their job quite well from Brent Mason on electric to Paul Franklin on steel. Chesnutt knows his roots and pretty much sticks to them. And that's good given the consistent quality of what may be not only Chesnutt's best, but one of this year's as well.