Country star Mark Chesnutt headlining Saline County Fair

Country music legend Mark Chesnutt, who has 14 No. 1 hits, five platinum and four gold albums to his credit, will perform July 22 at the 2016 Saline County Fair in Crete. Photo by Jason Waite
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CRETE, Neb. The 2016 Saline County Fair will play host to one of country music’s true treasures July 22 when it presents Mark Chesnutt in concert at the Tuxedo Park Lakebed Amphitheater in Crete.

The 7 p.m. event July 22 is only the fifth concert of the 52-year-old Chesnutt’s “Tradition Lives” Tour which highlights the 13 hits of his 15th studio album by the same name.

The concert will treat fans to a traditional country and honky-tonk sound with standards like Bubba Shot The Jukebox, I Don't Want to Miss A Thing and Rollin’ With The Flow.

Mark Chesnutt, who gave honky-tonk music back its soul after appearing on the musical landscape back in 1990, was then dubbed “The Hillbilly Messiah.” Now, Chesnutt has released 13 new cuts on the Tradition Lives album while preserving and honoring the works of several of country’s forefathers, including George Jones, Willie Nelson and Waylon Jennings.

Chesnutt’s national country debut came with the single, Too Cold at Home, the debut single from his second album, came several years after his first album titled Doing My Country Thing entered the Billboard Country charts.

The Beaumont, Texas, native known for big hits, is also one of the 10 most-played artists on country radio in the 1990s and early 21st century.

Chesnutt has been hailed as a classic country singer of the first order by country music’s most elite entertainers from George Jones to George Strait.

What draws many fans to appreciate songs like Blame It On Texas and Goin’ Through The Big ‘D’ is Chesnutt’s natural ability to let his voice shape the words to create a musical motion picture, a rare trait resonant of traditional country music standards such as The Statler Brothers’ Flowers On The Wall and Vern Gosdin’s Is It Raining At Your House?

Chesnutt had an early start at music glory in the honky-tonks of Beaumont, Texas, learning the basics from his father, Bob Chesnutt — singer, record collector and major fan of classic country music — as he often traveled to Nashville to record.

Mark began accompanying his father when he was just 17.

It took nearly 10 years of recording on regional labels, but word of his talents finally made the circuit and drew the attention of MCA Nashville management and a catalogue of accolades began.

That recognition and initial success opened the door to offer Mark his chance of a lifetime and 17 years later, he is still singing strong.

Millions of fans helped his hits quickly climb the charts. According to a 2014 CMT.com interview, his singles are some of the most memorable of the 1990s and the early 21st century.

Chesnutt is easily identified for a string of hits including Brother Jukebox, Old Flames Have New Names, Old Country, It Sure Is Monday, Almost Goodbye, I Just Wanted You To Know, Going Through The Big D, It’s A Little Too Late and Gonna Get A Life. One of his biggest, I Don’t Want To Miss A Thing, held the top position on the Billboard charts four consecutive weeks.

In all, Chesnutt has charted more than 30 singles on the U.S. Billboard Hot Country Songs charts, including 14 No. 1 singles and 23 top 10 singles. He has released 16 studio albums and a greatest hits package, has four platinum albums and five gold records to his credit — all while maintaining that hefty tour schedule each year.

The dedication of this Country Music Association Horizon Award winner to deliver live music is unsurpassed, evidenced by more than 25 years of touring and his only live album, Live From The Big D, which was released on his newly-formed record label Nada Dinero Records in 2012.

“It’s the music and the fans that have kept me around this long,” is his normal answer when asked why he travels the highways and back roads, meeting and entertaining fans young and old.”

Those fans have allowed this Texas boy to continue living his dream for over two decades.

“I just make records because I want people to come see my show,” Chesnutt told CMT.com writers. “Recording music for folks to just listen to music is great, but I love being out there on stage making it.

"The clubs and honky-tonks are home for me; it’s comfortable and I’m always with friends.”

Saline County Agricultural Society officials note that $15 advance tickets are available on the fair website, www.salinecountyfair.org, or at Crete True Value, Pinnacle Bank, Citizens State Bank-Friend, Friend Insurance Center and the Saline County Extension Office in Wilber.

Ticket prices increase to $25 the day of the show and are also available at the gate.

The Lincoln-based band SwitchBak is back at the fair, opening for Chesnutt July 22 at 7 p.m. and also playing the Saturday night rodeo dance.

Other entertainment offerings at the fair include the July 20 Galaxy of Stars Talent Search Regional competition, the Figure 8 Thursday night races July 21; the fair parade, mutton bustin’, PRCA rodeo and dance on July 23, and the premium auction July 24.

More entry details and information are available at www.salinecountyfair.org on the Internet.