Jim Chesnut's skill as a singer-songwriter has been seasoned by years of experience in radio and playing lounges, restaurants, nightclubs, dancehalls, package shows and concerts throughout the United States. Chesnut began his professional music career in San Angelo, Texas, performing part-time locally in the late 1960s. He started full-time as a professional singer at the Holiday Inn in Carrollton, Texas, in 1970.
For six years, Chesnut performed in Dallas and East Texas first as a single and then as a duo, teaming with Rodney Crowell in Nacogdoches. Crowell taught Jim’s first wife, Linda, to play drums, and the three played as a trio for several months until Rodney moved to Nashville to expand his horizons.
In a couple of years, Chesnut followed Crowell to Nashville after signing writing and recording contracts with Acuff-Rose Music and MGM/Hickory Records. In the years that followed, 15 top-100 singles and two albums were released on Chesnut. One of the singles, Show Me a Sign, was nominated for a Grammy Award in 1979.
Chesnut, represented by Bob Neal (Elvis Presley’s first manager) and the venerable William Morris Agency (late 1970s), appeared with such folks as Willie Nelson, Charley Pride, Mickey Newbury, Tom T. Hall, Bobby Bare, Danny Davis & the Nashville Brass, Sammi Smith, Ed Bruce, Gene Watson, Moe Bandy, Don Everly, Eddie Raven, Reba McEntire, Janie Fricke, Lorrie Morgan, B.J. Thomas, Pat and Debby Boone, Ernest Tubb, Grandpa Jones, and a number of other Grand Ole Opry stars.
After Charley Pride recorded Chesnut’s song, Oklahoma Morning, he endorsed Chesnut’s first album (Let Me Love You Now on ABC/Hickory Records) saying, “He has a tremendous talent for writing, and as you can see from this album for delivering a good country song, also.” Audiences through the years have said similar things:
“Great song and singing.”—from Facebook, Tom Smith, Waynesboro, Pennsylvania.
“Beautiful song and fantastic vocals, thank you for sharing”—from Facebook, Jan Lpz, San Antonio.
“Really love this song!! Good job”—Facebook, Brenda Brandstetter, San Angelo.
“What a nice evening you provided for us! I’ve heard nothing but glowing comments about your talent, your entertaining and sincere ways of transitioning between songs, your humor . . .”—Mary Hitch, New Braunfels.
“I don’t just like it; I love it! I’ve just ordered my copy from CD Baby.”—email, Geoff and Jane Simon, Australia.
“The world needs to continue experiencing the talent of this extraordinarily gifted man! He’s a consummate performer who seems to be completely at ease on stage. He’s witty and soulful in his writing, and his voice is clear as a bell. His songs are obviously straight from the heart, and that’s where he touches his listeners!”—Ann Arnhart, Ft. Worth.
“I am a longtime fan of Jim Chesnut. His singing and writing ability has always impressed me. His songs tell stories that many can relate to, some touching, some funny, and his wide-range voice is beautiful to listen to. I think he is an outstanding artist.”—Jo Ann (Travis) Clark, Midland.