News You Can Use . . . Maybe
Chesnut Releases New Recording of Oklahoma Morning
#1 Most Added Recorded in the Nation's Secondary Markets in Its Second Week.
Jim Chesnut released a new single (Oklahoma Morning) the first week of January 2014, and it got off to a strong start in the nation's secondary markets. In the second week of the release, New Music Weekly, a publication dedicated to covering the music activity in the national grassroots markets listed the song as the #1 most added record in the country. It beat out the new records of such notables as Blake Shelton, Keith Urban, Brad Paisley, Eric Church, Rascal Flatts and Garth Brooks.
Oklahoma Morning, a Chesnut original, is the song that opened Nashville doors for Jim in the mid 1970s. After Charley Pride recorded the song, Chesnut signed publishing and recording contracts with Acuff-Rose Music, the company that nurtured the careers of Hank Williams, Don Gibson, The Everly Brothers, Donovan and many others. On a recent trip to Oklahoma to play at a surprise party honoring Don Powell, the man who signed Jim to Acuff-Rose, Chesnut stopped to refuel and was startled to hear a flock of migrating, honking geese overhead. He was reminded that Oklahoma mornings are something to behold in the Fall. Jim had been planning a new album for months, and decided right then to include the song. So, he asked Don Powell to play pedal steel on the recording, and it turned out so well that Oklahoma Morning was selected to be the first single release of 2014.
Stay tuned for progress reports . . .
Chesnut Given a Lifetime Achievement Award by His Midland High School Classmates
In October 2013 singer/songwriter Jim Chesnut was given a lifetime achievement award by his 1963 high school classmates for his body of work in music at their 50th class reunion. The honor was bestowed upon 10 other individuals including the award-winning author Cathy Luchetti, Retired U.S. Army General Tommy Franks, and several physicians and educators. "I'm totally surprised by this," Chesnut said to his wife, Christine, when he first heard about the award. "To be included in this group of accomplished individuals is the coolest thing that's ever happened to me. I'm not sure I've done anything to deserve this."
The reunion was a two-day affair in which Chesnut performed in the early evening of the first day, but, due to a prior commitment, could not be present for the award presentation night of the second day.
CDs Now Available
J.W. Chesnut's Sippin' Whiskey
This 12-song 2013 release is a roots music anthology that includes A. Beddoe's Copper Kettle, Stephen Foster's Hard Times Come Again No More, Sam Cooke's A Change Is Gonna Come, and Woody Guthrie's This Land Is Your Land. In addition to those classics, the CD contains eight of Jim's originals, Two did extremely well in New Music Weekly's national country chart. Fading Memories reached the Top-30 in mid-2013, and Get Aboard a Catamaran peaked at #12 in December.
This is a 2008 collection of Jim's songs and is the first recording he had done since the early 1980s. There is a wide variety of material here, including some humor. If Waylon Ain't in Heaven was released as a single on March 10. It appeared in New Music Weekly's Top-50 national country chart for several weeks.
The Nashville Years: Collector's Edition
This CD contains 15 songs Jim Chesnut wrote and recorded in the late 1970s in Nashville. The Nashville Years: Collector's Edition is now available for purchase through email (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Chesnut's renewed interest in music started in early 2007 when Nashville songwriter Steve Collom called Jim to let him know that Get Back to Loving Me, a song from Jim's second Nashville album, would be included on the soundtrack of Ashley Judd's movie Come Early Morning. Now in rental distribution, the DVD is available at http://www.amazon.com/Come-Early-Morning-Ashley-Judd/dp/B000MEYJHO. It is a gripping story about a young woman struggling with alcohol abuse and one night stands in an attempt to find meaning in her life through relationships. See some reviews at http://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/come_early_morning.
Old but Relevant News
2010 a Great Year for Jim Chesnut!
Chesnut Graduates from College at age 65!
Forty-two years after withdrawing from The University of Texas at Austin in 1968 to pursue his career interests in music, Chesnut graduated with a bachelor of applied arts and sciences degree from Texas State University - San Marcos on Friday, August 13, 2010. His 4.0 Texas State GPA put him among the top of his fellow graduating classmates.
While taking courses to complete his undergraduate degree, Chesnut was also certified by the State of Texas as a certified public manager.
(l-r) CPM Keynote Speaker Charles S. Stone, Texas Department of Rural Affairs, Jim Chesnut, Certified Public Manager, and Dr. Howard Balanoff, Texas Statue University Political Science Professor and Director of William P. Hobby for Public Service
Chesnut Retires from the Texas Wildlife Association in June 2010
(l-r) TWA President Tina Buford and Texas A&M Professor Dr. Neal Wilkins present Chesnut with The Charley McTee Outdoor Media Award for his nearly 20 years of service as the organization's magazine producer. McTee was Chesnut's mentor at TWA, bringing him onboard in 1991 to develop what is now perhaps the state's premier conservation publication. After McTee's death from leukemia in the middle 1990s, Chesnut served as interim editor until McTee's replacement could be found. In addition to his production duties, Chesnut also developed TWA's database system, initial Web site designs and served as the organization's systems administrator for ten years.
Singer/songwriter and former Nashville recording artist Jim Chesnut has returned to performing professionally. Since the Spring of 2007, he continues to perform in both public venues as well as corporate and private events. For bookings call (210) 422-7204.
Click here for pictures and comments from Jim's memorable performances.
Some Background Info on Jim
In his early career, Chesnut thrilled music industry insiders and audiences across the nation with his songwriting and vocal talent. Wesley Rose, President of Acuff-Rose Music, Inc., signed him in part because Roy Acuff was willing to allow Jim to take his place on the full roster at Hickory Records (distributed at the time by MGM).
When Charley Pride endorsed Chesnut's first album (Let Me Love You Now on ABC/Hickory Records) he said, "He has a tremendous talent for writing, and as you can see from this album for delivering a good country song, also."
Pride was the first major artist to record and release a Chesnut song (Oklahoma Morning) shortly before Jim was signed as an exclusive staff writer for Acuff-Rose, the firm that produced such songwriting greats as Hank Williams, Mickey Newbury, Eddy Raven, Don Gibson, Roy Orbison and The Everly Brothers.
From that point, Chesnut, in what proved to be an unwise career decision, reserved all of his material for his own use as a recording artist. He wrote most of the songs for the 13 top-100 singles and two albums he released in the late 1970s. One of those songs, Show Me a Sign, was nominated for a Grammy in 1979.
Chesnut, represented by Bob Neal (Elvis Presley's first manager) and the venerable William Morris Agency, performed in nightclubs and concerts, appearing with such folks as Willie Nelson, Charley Pride, Rodney Crowell, Mickey Newbury, Tom T. Hall, Bobby Bare, Con Hunley, Danny Davis & the Nashville Brass, Sammi Smith, Don Williams, Ed Bruce, Gene Watson, Moe Bandy, Don Everly, Eddie Raven, Larry Gatlin, Dottie West, Reba McEntire, Janie Fricke, Lorrie Morgan, B.J. Thomas, Pat and Debby Boone, Ernest Tubb, Grandpa Jones, Jan Howard, Helen Cornelius and a number of other Grand Ole Opry stars.
Chesnut's emerging career was muted in the early 1980s, when he returned to Texas. Battered emotionally by divorce and a changing landscape in Nashville and country music, he began a new career in marketing communications apart from the music industry.
As noted above, under a license agreement with Sony/ATV Music, we have released two volumes of Chesnut's Nashville recordings. We have also released Reflections, a new CD with original songs about life experienced, observed and imagined.
"The new material offers great variety. It has humor, joy, pain, rhythm, melody, harmony . . . all the stuff I like in music. I'm finally able to make music the way I feel it. My primary purpose is simply to make the best music I know how," he explained.
Click here for publicity photos.