Jim moved to San Antonio in 1982 in search of a new career away from the frustrations he experienced in the music industry. "Honestly, I didn't think God wanted me to sing, because so many things had gone 'wrong' in my life," he recalls. "I quit drinking in October of '81 and surrendered all my music contracts including bookings shortly after that. I was convinced that I needed to get out to maintain my sanity."
In January each year for several years, Jim had performed at the annual KKYX River Festival in San Antonio and had told Station Manager Bill Rhode that he would not be coming for the '82 event. Days before it was to begin an ice storm moved into the Dallas/Ft. Worth area, paralyzing air transportation. Several scheduled Nashville artists were unable to get to San Antonio, so Rhode called Jim (living in Austin at the time) to ask him to reconsider. Jim agreed to perform one last time.
Two things happened that would change his life forever. First, he was offered a job in sales at KKYX, and second, he met Christine Walden, the director of promotions at the station. Jim and Christine were inseparable during the River Festival. "She was very attractive. Very intelligent. And, I was very interested in her," Jim reflects. "I had already accepted a sales job at another station in Austin when the KKYX offer was made, so I asked Christine if she thought there might be a chance for a long term relationship between us, and she said she thought so."
So, Jim took the job in San Antonio. The problem was, however, that KKYX employees couldn't date each other, so Jim had to keep his interest in Christine a secret. To help him with his romantic plot, Jim turned to his friend of several years, George Chambers.
Chambers is a well-known band leader and country singer in San Antonio. He began his career in music at the age of 13 in 1951 and has performed in virtually every dance hall in South Texas. Along with his band, The Country Gentlemen, he has performed with or backed up many of the legendary names in country music. Ray Price, Willie Nelson, Bobby Bare, Johnny Bush, and all of the Nashville recording artists who performed at the KKYX River Festival through the years, including Jim Chesnut.
George generously offered Chesnut a place to stay when he moved to San Antonio and agreed to keep the news about Christine to himself. So, Jim moved in with George for several months, until he and Christine were married in August of 1982.
"George is an interesting guy," according to Jim. "While I was beating my brains out in Nashville barely making a living, George was back here working several nights a week, driving a Mercedes or two, traveling to his bookings in a bus he owned, and flying his own airplane. I think George had the better idea!
"George Chambers will be remembered as one of the nicest and most benevolent human beings ever placed on earth. Always ready to share equipment, give advise or encouragement, he has been there for me a number of times through the years," says Jim.
Since Jim and Christine were married, they have raised two sons, Matthew and Jacob, and continue their careers in healthcare for Christine and music once again for Jim.