Mark’s stature is easily gauged. He has 14 No. 1 hits, 23 Top 10 singles, four platinum albums and five gold records to his credit. He maintains a front-and-center presence with a hefty tour schedule year after year.
A familiar guest on the Opry stage, Mark recalls his first time to play the legendary show. “The first time I played on the Opry stage, I met Roy Acuff that night,” he says. “He asked me, ‘Were your knees shakin’? Were you scared to death? Were you shakin’ in your boots?’ I said, ‘Yessir, I was.’ He said, ‘Good. When you lose that, I ain’t got nothin’ for you.'”
If you ask Mark, he’ll tell you, “It’s the music and the fans that have kept me around this long.”
In a creative forum that sometimes confuses style with substance, Mark possesses both. Remaining true to himself as a traditional country artist while keeping the pace with the ever-changing country recording landscape, Mark has a knack for picking great songs, delivering them with world-class style and a heart-felt emotion that’s lived-in.
Mark got his start in the honky tonks of Beaumont, Texas, learning from his father, Bob Chesnutt, a singer, record collector and major fan of classic country music. Playing alongside his dad, Mark embraced his father’s influence one set at a time and began making a name for himself.
After nearly a decade of recording on regional labels, word got out about this young country vocalist. Music Row executives came to hear Mark on his own Texas turf and recognized the depth of his raw talent. In 1989, he was signed to MCA Nashville and his list of accolades tells the rest of his story.
Of all the recorded highlights Mark has enjoyed, they take a back seat to his first love: performing live. “I just make records because I want people to come see my show,” he says with a grin. “Recording music for folks to just listen to music is great,” he says, “but I’ve got to be out there on stage making it.” Fans who have seen him perform agree.
Known as one of the industry’s hardest-working performers, Mark maintains a steady presence in front of his fans. He’s been on the road since 1990. Folks can always find Mark doing what he was born to do – play. “The clubs and honky tonks are home for me; it’s comfortable and I’m always with friends,” he says.