My Kind of Country

Country music from a fan's point of view since 2008

Single Review: Mark Chesnutt – ‘When The Lights Go Out (Tracie’s Song)’

markchesnuttSince the major label phase of his career ended just over a decade ago, Mark Chesnutt has continued to release new music on a fairly steady basis on a variety of small labels. It’s been three years since his most recent album Outlaw, a collection of cover tunes, was released. He is finally back with some original music, released on his own label, the whimsically-named (but grammatically incorrect) Nada Dinero.

In a recent interview, Chesnutt expressed some regret that he didn’t spend more time during his commercial heyday honing his songwriting skills. He sets to rectify that with “When The Lights Go Out”, which he co-wrote with Nashville songwriters Jimmy Ritchey and Roger Springer. The traditional ballad manages to avoid the production excesses of most contemporary releases without sounding retro or dated. The subject matter — a lonely musician who would rather be home with his wife than out on the road — isn’t terribly original, but it’s a refreshing change from the too-loud redneck posturing that passes for country music these days.

A decade ago, a song like this still had an outside chance of becoming a hit, but given the amount of time that Chesnutt has been out of the mainstream spotlight, combined with the lack of the promotional muscle that only a major label can provide, “When The Lights Go Out” will regrettably not get the amount of attention it deserves. It will, however, be much appreciated by longtime fans who miss hearing artists like Mark Chesnutt on the radio. An album is planned for later in the year. I am very much looking forward to it and hope it doesn’t fail to materialize like so many proposed independent projects. I couldn’t find a YouTube link to the song, but it’s well worth the $1.29 it costs to download it from Amazon or iTunes.

Grade: A-

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