by Sandra L. Toney
Mark Chestnutt has been singing country music for years, but he didn't get his rightful recognition until winning the 1993 Horizon Award, which honors up-and-coming country stars. Chestnutt has just released album number four, What A Way To Live, which features Chestnutt singing at his very best.
Three albums previous to his fourth, Too Cold At Home (MCA, 1990), Longnecks and Short Stories (MCA, 1992), and Almost Goodbye (MCA, 1993), all did quite well on the charts producing such smash hits as "Brother Jukebox," "I'll Think of Something," "Old Flames Have New Names," "Almost Goodbye," "I Just Wanted You To Know," and his number one honky tonk hit about once again facing Monday morning with yet ANOTHER hangover, "It sure is Monday."
After this massive string of hits, one might think that Chestnutt has already been to the top and is on his way back down. However, anyone who listens to What A Way To Live will realize that nothing could be further from the truth. And, Mark
Chestnutt doesn't just sing ballads beautifully OR triumph only on fast-pickin', heel-tappin' tunes either. This thirty-two year old, talented country star can do both EQUALLY well!
The title song, "What A Way To Live" (penned by the legendary Willie Nelson along with Hank Craig), tells the woes of a man with a heartache, "I'd rather lay me down tonight/And never wake again/Than to face another day the shape my life is in/The jukebox playing loud/A face among the crowd/So much like hers it makes my heart stand still/All I can say is what a way to live."
Not all the songs Chestnutt gives us on this album are that depressing, however. Two such singles on this release are the kind of "pick-me-up-out-of-the-dumps" songs that Chestnutt performs so skillfully. In "Live A Little," he tells us, "This life ain't coming 'round again/So give a little, take a little/Live a little now and then." Very wise advice!
"Gonna Get A Life," which is currently climbing the charts along with a great video to accompany it, is an even better song to help you climb back up out of that hole which a love gone wrong has buried us all in at one time or another. The chorus shows how to get that winning attitude back, "I'm gonna get a life that's what I'm gonna do/So startin' now you can find one too/I'm gonna get a life like I should have done/A long time ago before you wrecked this one."
Ballads to rip at your heartstrings are available on What A Way To Live for those melancholy days as well. "Down in
Tennessee," "Half of Everything (And All Of My Heart)," "It's Almost Like You're Here," and the already popular, "She Dreams," can provide you with all the heartache you could possibly wish for. "She Dreams" is about a housewife/mother who truly loves her kids and her life, but loneliness and boredom sets in at times and her only escape is to dream. "She's trapped inside these walls/A prisoner in this fine suburban home . . . so she dreams, she dreams he'll come home from work and carry her away/And he'll see she needs the man she's still in love with when she dreams." This sad, but true, song is a reality for a lot of lonely women.
Finally, divorce is handled in a rather fun way by Chestnutt in his hit, "Goin' Through The Big D," which tells of what can happen to a man when he's taken to the "cleaners" by his once- loving wife, "I'm goin' through the big D and don't mean Dallas/I can't believe what the judge had to tell us/I got the jeep and she got the palace/I'm goin' through the big D and don't mean Dallas."
What A Way To Live has something for every listener whether you're a Mark Chestnutt fan already or simply hearing him for the first time. So, kick up your feet, lay back and relax with the remote in your hand, and press the "play" button to find out more about love and misery, relationships and pain and, most of all, you will discover . . . WHAT A WAY TO LIVE!
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