Showing posts with label mark chesnutt. Show all posts
Showing posts with label mark chesnutt. Show all posts

Monday, July 25, 2016

video review: 'tradition lives' by mark chesnutt

Well, this turned out a fair bit better than I expected. Seriously, give this guy some support, Chesnutt is delivering real quality here in a great country year.

But he's not the only great record I'm covering tonight - stay tuned!

album review: 'tradition lives' by mark chesnutt

Let's go back about thirty years in country music - and one could make the argument that it was bleak indeed. Country had never sounded so polished and sterile, plainly trying to play for pop radio instead of doubling down on what made the genre good in the first place - sound familiar? But that was about to change with the rise of what would become one of the biggest and most celebrated movements in country music: the neotraditional sound. Led initially by George Strait and country pop defector Reba McEntire in the mid-80s, by the late 80s it would explode thanks to a burst of terrific talent talent seldom seen before in the genre. In 1989 alone we got the debut records from Clint Black, Travis Tritt, Mary Chapin Carpenter, Garth Brooks, and Alan Jackson. And these weren't just bursts of talent from the indie scene - they were hitmakers and tremendously popular, pushing one of my favourite genres with the neotraditional sound into a creative boom that would last for nearly ten years.

But let's go back a year to 1988, where the artist we're going to talk about today, Texas country artist Mark Chesnutt, began his career on an indie label before heading mainstream. His name doesn't tend to come up as much in the neotraditional movement, but he was definitely there in the early 90s with a string of real hits. I'm honestly not sure why he isn't remembered more - I still remember most of his 90s hits, and most of them are pretty decent, if occasionally a little too slick for their own good. Maybe it was because he didn't take more of an active role writing his own songs, especially early on, but a larger factor was a cover he made of Aerosmith's 'I Don't Want A Miss a Thing', a song that was a pop sellout for both acts and that he actually regrets to this day. I'm not about to blame him for it - pop country made a massive comeback in the late 90s, it's understandable his label might have pushed him in that direction, but then his label was dissolved and for a few years he kind of got stuck in the lurch. So when country had shifted into the rougher sounds of the early 2000s, Chesnutt probably did the best thing he could have done - he went back to the indie scene and his roots with the honky tonk sound in Texas. And since then, while he hasn't been writing a lot, he's been putting out a series of critically acclaimed records - sure, he doesn't write many of the songs, but he's always had a knack for finding smart songwriters with a knack for nuance, ever since the 90s. Now this album Tradition Lives is his first since Outlaw in 2010, and it's been getting a lot of critical acclaim, especially from the indie country set, so I figured I'd give it a listen - was it worth it?