Chely Wright Six Pack

Chely WrightIt seemed like Chely Wright was on the cusp of stardom for her entire career, releasing several albums in the nineties that garnered enough interest to keep her signed but not quite enough to make her an established star. She finally scored a big hit when “Single White Female” went #1, and the album of the same name would eventually be certified gold.

But she wasn’t able to maintain the momentum with her follow-up project, and that #1 hit remained her only trip to the top ten. In recent years, she released an outstanding EP called Everything and a full-length album called The Metropolitan Hotel which was one of her most consistent efforts.

“The Love That We Lost”
from the 1996 album Right in the Middle Of It

Her biggest pre-MCA hit was remarkably intriguing, especially on the first listen when you’re trying to figure out what she’s looking all over the house for.

“Shut Up and Drive”
from the 1997 album Let Me In

One of the best records to hit the radio in 1997.

“I Already Do”
from the 1997 album Let Me In

Perhaps it was too quiet a declaration of love for country radio, but it’s a beautiful performance.

“Single White Female”
from the 1999 album Single White Female

Her biggest hit also made a name for its co-writer Carolyn Dawn Johnson, who’d go on to have a hit album of her own.

from the 2001 album Never Love You Enough

She has a lot of quirky songs in her catalog. If you like this one, make sure you check out “Alligator Purse.”

“Back of the Bottom Drawer”
from the 2004 EP Everything

A clear-eyed look back at good and bad decisions that shape who you become in the end.


  1. I miss hearing from Chely Wright, and I’m excited to hear she has a new album coming produced by Rodney Crowell.

    “Shut Up And Drive” and “I Already Do” are my favorites. I’d also like to mention “It Was” and “She Went Out For Cigarettes” with the latter being one of my favorite performances from her. “Rubbin’ It In” from the Single White Female album is a great hidden treasure along with “Till All Her Tears Are Dry” from her debut.

  2. While I’m not much on Chely, I too want to put in a good word for “Jezebel”, and say that the lack of airplay for this song was, and I am putting this mildly, revolting.

  3. Chely has to be one of my favorite under rated females – “She Went Out for Cigarettes” is one of my favorites, but a song that has to be one my favorties by her is “The River”.

  4. “The Bumper of My SUV” was a great song, and her remake of Arlene Hardin’s “He’s A Good Ol’ Boy” on her debut album deserved airplay, too

    I’m not sure why Chely didn’t make it big – she’a a far better singer than many of those that did

  5. “She Went Out for Cigarettes” and “The River” are two songs that I’d like to add to make an eight pack! Vince and Chely have been long-time friends and his harmonies on “The River” make a sombre song positively melancholy. Chely’s tenor is yet another immediately distinguished voice that stands out from the crowd. I own all her music…she is only one of two or three artists whose entire catalog I do own. I hate that her commercial success never really took off. Very distinctive voice…very talented lady.

  6. Chely is a good singer, but it seemed that with each new major label release, her image changed considerably. She never found the right gimmick with which to market herself.She also sometimes seemed to jump on trends just about a year too late.

    Also, though I have no proof, I think Lee Ann Womack hurt Chely’s career. In the late 1990s, Chely and Womack were both up and comers at MCA. Chely finally got a big hit in 1999 with “Single White Female.” But in 2000, Womack’s “I Hope You Dance” came out and MCA made a huge huge push with her. I suspect that promoting Womack as MCAs future female star became a big priority and Chely got left behind. This is just speculation though.

    I kinda soured on chely after the “Bumper of my SUV” scandal, in 2004, however.

  7. I love Chely. My list would be different, though:’

    “The River”
    “Not As In Love”
    “The Fire”
    “Shut Up and Drive”
    “South Side Of Lonesome”
    “Sex, Drugs and Rock & Roll”

  8. I don’t think the so-called “Bumper of My SUV” scandal was of Chely’s doing.

    After eight years of Bill Clinton, this hardly would rate as a scandal anyway

  9. “Shut Up and Drive” is my favorite but some others worth seeking out include “Never Love You Enough”, “Just Another Heartache”, “Listenin’ To the Radio”, “Sea of Cowboy Hats” and “Til I Was Loved By You”.

  10. Its hard to know for sure if Chely knew about the events that caused the “Bumper” scandal. Certainly, her fan club president, who she often referred to as her “best friend” knew about and encouraged the events. Maybe Chely didn’t know, but its pretty likely that she did.

    I’m not sure what Bill Clinton has to do with this, and his transgressions do not excuse Chely’s. But I will grant that the Chely scandal is pretty small: and even compared with other country singers who have beaten their spouses, et cetera. Chely is an angel compared to David Allan Coe, for instance. Still her actions (or those of her associates) rubbed me the wrong way.

  11. As I understand it, Chely didn’t have knowledge of what happened until a reporter asked her about it and she was shocked. I take her at face value, because I don’t think that artists can always control what rabbid fans will do.

    The Bill Clinton jab is random and unrelated to this situation.

  12. I would also add to the list her duet with Richard Marx from his “Days of Avalon” CD.

    “The Edge of Forever” great wedding song.

    and from her Polydor debut CD “The Last Supper”.

    Such a talented lady, she should have had an amazing career, funny how thing strun out for some and not others.

  13. I would also add to the list her duet with Richard Marx from his “Days of Avalon” CD.

    “The Edge of Forever” great wedding song.

    and from her Polydor debut CD “The Last Supper”.

    Such a talented lady, she should have had an amazing career, funny how things turn out for some and not for others, Fickle Finger of Fate, I guess.

  14. I’m interested to hear what she’s doing with Rodney Crowell. She’s never grabbed my attention very much, but I do like “The River.” I particularly like the song she wrote that was recorded by Clay Walker, “I Can’t Sleep.”

  15. I agree that singers can’t control what their rabid fans will do. But in this case, Chely’s fan club president and “best friend” directed the “elite” fan club members to send letters to DJs posing as family members of someone in the military. There’s no proof Chely knew, but I wouldn’t be shocked to learn that she did.

    Maybe it doesn’t much matter. Its a minor transgression, anyway. But, if I worked at a radio station, incidents like this might cause me to rely more on callout research and less on requests when deciding what to play.

  16. Well mine would be:

    Shut Up And Drive
    I Already Do
    Single White Female
    She Went Out For Cigarettes
    The River
    Picket Fences

    It’s hard to believe no one has mentioned “Fences” yet. How many country songs are there about moms; what about the ones for single career ladies?

    James S, you have made my day with the news she’s got a new album produced by Crowell. Looking forward to it.

    Wright and Lee Ann Womack are two ladies that should be more successful in the industry.

  17. I’d put “It Was” over “I Already Do”.. but then it feels like just the hits. But that video… so sexy.. can’t shake it… (or… well… nevermind)

  18. I’d mention a few album cuts, “Gotta get goot at Givin Again”, “He Don’t Do bars Anymore”, and ‘Emma Jeans Guitar”

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