Rollin’ with the Flow – The Ups and Downs of Being Country

Rollin’ With The Flow - (C)2007 Lofton Creek Records/Mark ChesnuttMark Chesnutt has been a personal favorite of mine for many years now.  While I always leant towards the rock/pop side of country music, Mark Chesnutt kept me grounded in Country. Since becoming a fan I’ve wandered my way around seen him live a few times and met him face to face twice.  While Major labels deemed him no longer a ‘star,’ Mark has been “Rollin With The Flow” in his career as of late.  After leaving Sony in 2003, Mark signed with the short-lived label Vivaton! Records.  But while with the Sony distributed label Mark released “Savin’ The Honky Tonk and had a couple of singles hit the top 30.  On the record Mark was unabashedly country.    A critically acclaimed record, the label just couldn’t give the album the push it deserved.  After that label trouble Mark re-appeared in 2006 with a self-produced collection of classic country covers.  “Heard It In A Love Song” was an admirable effort with some wonderfully chosen songs from Waylon and the two Hanks among others. It was distributed through CBuJ Recordings. 

 What this streak of one-off’s for small labels has shown is that Mark has a desire to continue to make compelling country music.  Why one of the best, if not the best, country singers of the neotraditionalist movement can barely get a sniff at country radio is beyond me.  His new single, “Rollin’ With The Flow” is a refreshing choice cover of the Charlie Rich hit from the 1970s.  It’s a song with a distinct melody that should get radio’s attention.  Traditional enough in that the fiddle and steel guitar are very noticable, the song is produced the way Mark’s old MCA/Decca hits were.  The lyrics also seem to chronicle Mark’s (and other 1990’s country stars) journey through the sea independent labels.  If this song cannot return Mark Chesnutt to the Top of the current country charts (especially with a slight George Strait vibe to it), then no other song Mark will subsequently releases will get the change and that’s the true shame about modern country music playlists. 

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