Brand New Rerun

Mark Chestnutt (Columbia)
Mark Chestnutt

By Rob Greenwell

In the 1990's, Mark Chestnutt gained popularity as a straightforward honky-tonk country singer with a rich voice and a traditional country sound. His success included many danceable country hits, including "Going To The Big D," "It's A Little Too Late" and "Gonna Get A Life." He also scored hits with the ladies with his soulful ballads "Let It Rain" and "Old County" among others. However, during the trend toward the pop sound which country has been undertaking for quite a while, Chestnutt's successes have decreased dramatically, with the only exception being "I Don't Wanna Miss A Thing," a remake of the popular Aerosmith tune.

During the time of his drop in popularity, Chestnutt and MCA parted ways, whereupon Chestnutt was snatched up by Columbia Records. This new team recently released Mark Chesnutt as the first new project for their artist.

This project, produced by Billy Joe Walker Jr., is an attempt to get Chestnutt back to his old sound and self and in many ways that was accomplished. However, this is not what I would expect from him. He produced so many country masterpieces in his short time as an artist that my mental bar for him is much higher than what is on this album. This is not to downgrade this project, as it could be a way to ease back into things: I just expect bigger and better things to come from him.

Having said that, I heard nothing on this album that just really stood out. There is however some okay material on here, particularly the already released "She Was" and "I'm in Love With a Married Woman," ballads that will certainly be hits with the romantics. There are some danceable tunes on this project, including the cool bachelor tune "Don't Know Why I Do It" and "Sacred As A Sunday." If you are a Chesnutt fan, go ahead and buy it, but if you are new to his sound, get one of his earlier CDs and hear what he sounds like when he was trying harder.

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