Sometimes a man’s gotta do what a man’s gotta do. That seems to be the conclusion that singer Mark Chesnutt reached just before he waded into the pool of songwriting.
After years of telling people he didn’t write songs because there were plenty of songwriters out there, Chesnutt changed his tune.
His seventh album, released in August, contains five songs co-written by Chesnutt. That’s half of the package.
He’ll sing some of those songs when he performs at the Spokane Arena on Tuesday.
“I couldn’t find any more country songs, so I started writing them myself,” Chesnutt explained in a phone call from Nashville.
He quickly gave credit to veteran writer Roger Springer for most of the crafting of the songs.
“I’d have an idea or a few lines, and he’d do the rest,” Chesnutt said.
He said he learned of Springer through a tape of his songs he was sent by publisher BMI. “He wrote the kind of songs I love to sing,” Chesnutt said.
The Texan is known for pure country, or honky-tonk, music. His songs have themes such as the pain of love gone sour, drowning sorrows in beer and the guilt that accompanies neglect of family.
The title song and first single off his new album, “Thank God for Believers,” tells of the wife who sits faithfully at home, waiting for her carousing husband.
Chesnutt also has a recurring jukebox theme on his albums. He’s the one who sang “Bubba Shot the Jukebox” on an earlier album; now he has “Numbers on the Jukebox,” an equally appealing number.
Chesnutt likes a song that tells a story or sets a scene. “It’s gotta be about something,” he said. “There’s a lot on the radio that ain’t about nothin’.”
Listen to any of the songs on the CD and you will either identify with it or know someone who could. That’s the kind of song Chesnutt likes.
His favorite song of the 10, he said, is “That Side of You,” which he, Springer and Steve Leslie wrote. “We were listening to ‘When the Grass Grows Over Me’ by George Jones when we came up with that one,” he said.
Three of Chesnutt’s albums have sold more than a million copies: “Too Cold At Home,” “Longneck & Short Stories” and “Almost Goodbye.” Three others have gone gold, including his “Greatest Hits” package released last year.
Chesnutt wasn’t very talkative - until asked about his kids.
Waylon is “a regular ol’ 2-year-old, talking constantly,” reported the proud daddy. “When I’m gone, he has to watch my videos. He sings along.”
Little Casey, at 9 months, is growing fast, and Chesnutt was eager to get home to Texas for a couple of days to see his wife and his boys.
Success has kept the singer on the road, traveling from town to town to play big halls and arenas.
Sometimes Springer rides along, and he and Chesnutt work on songs after they have gotten on the road after a gig. That would be about 2 a.m., Chesnutt said, when they would apply their creative energy to new ideas to sing about.
Whatever it takes, it seems to work well. “Thank God for Believers” looks to be another gold trophy for Chesnutt’s wall.
, DataTimes ILLUSTRATION: Photo
MEMO: This sidebar appeared with the story: CONCERT PREVIEW Mark Chesnutt will perform Tuesday at the Spokane Arena. Andy Childs opens the 7:30 p.m. concert. Tickets are $15, available at G&B; outlets, 325-SEAT or (800) 325-SEAT.