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Outlaw

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Almost 20 years into his career, Mark Chesnutt tips his Texas-sized hat to his outlaw heroes, including Willie Nelson, Billy Joe Shaver and Jerry Jeff Walker. Waylon Jennings and Hank Williams Jr. also feature as influences on Mark’s honky-tonk style, and his rugged baritone is in its element on Hank Jr.’s “Whiskey Bent and Hell Bound” and Waylon’s “Only Daddy That’ll Walk the Line.” Mark alternates with Texas-based artist Amber Digby’s sweetly vulnerable voice on the fiddle-filigreed rendering of Willie Nelson’s “A Couple More Years.” Of course, no album of outlaw country would be complete without the Kris Kristofferson-penned classic “Sunday Mornin’ Comin’ Down,” though the lack of songs by outlaw icon Merle Haggard seems an obvious omission. Compared to today’s pop-country fare, even modern renditions of the classics featured here sound staunchly anti-Nashville, a fact that ultimately validates Outlaw’s stance.

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