Tag Archives: At The Cut

Flirted With You All My Life – the passing of Vic Chesnutt

On Christmas day, when heads were counted, the world was one short… the genius of Vic Chestnutt was no longer with us. 

 

I discovered the intensely poetic music of Chesnutt in the last few years, courtesy of the 2005 album Ghetto Bells. It’s raw immediacy, kicked me hard and I was captured. I hadn’t heard a voice so honest in many years; Vic’s straight-up drawl, battered guitar lines and hard-won wisdom resonated from the opening note of Virginia and didn’t let up until long after album closer Gnats had played. The album came back to me in the quiet moments, snatches of lyric firing my synapses and stinging my heart:

I am trying to stitch this one to all the rest of them
But the seams will split, collide and cleave
Neopolitan ice cream is never truly integrated until it’s too late

‘from Vesuvius’

the schemer looked down upon the screamer
like buried treasure
he nursed me and cherished me
and trained me to be
what is here in front of you
a ticket to see, a ticket to see
fate has been so good to me
you may not understand
how I can be thankful to be where I am
to be where I am

‘from Ignorant People’

And earlier this year, I had the immense pleasure of seeing Vic play at The Troubador (see earlier post The World Is A Sponge). He was mesmeric, and seeing him only deepened my love and respect for his music. The last few years had been intensely creative, in fact since recording his debut, Little in 1990 (with the help of REM’s Micheal Stipe), Chesnutt had never been content to rest on past achievements releasing more than a dozen solo albums and collaborating on many others. Described as ‘prolific, profound, and ever full of potty-mouthed piss-and-vinegar – Vic Chesnutt is Prometheus in a wheelchair’. His contribution to the world will always be cherished and his all-to-early death at 45, forever mourned.

To close, here’s the haunting track from Vic’s most recent album, At The Cut, I Flirted With You All My Life, described as a break-up letter to his own suicidal thoughts.

More news is available via his record label, Constellation Records.

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The New Folk VI

 Well, this may possibly be my last post until December 29, as I am jetting off to Tasmanian waters for a few days and may not get near enough to a computer to make an update… so to sign off on what has been an amazing year, here’s a handful of songs to soundtrack these glorious summer days. To all of the people who have read this blog – whether you be a regular, a sporadic visitor, or a fly-by-nighter – thank you. I am already looking forward to an exciting 2010 as there are many projects bubbling away. Big love to you all…

Orenda Fink: That Certain-Something Spring

Orenda Fink’s sophomore solo album blends her love of traditional American folk music and Gothic literature. Recorded live in a basement and a lounge room , the album has that wistful melancholoy that has become the trademark of quality home produced folk. Orenda’s thick as honey voice sails in and out of the mandolin, accordion and saw that give this album a southern tinge. The perfect music to slow time… most definitely an album to curl up with.

 

Port O’Brien: My Will Is Good

Taken from their third longplayer, Threadbare, this showcases a stripped back sound for Port O’Brien. The album swells like a lung full of salt air, not surprising given Van Pierszalowski spends much of his year working on a salmon fishing boat. This album is making lots of the Best of 2009 lists, and for good reason. It is elegant in its simplicity, dramatic in its craft and brings a pop sensibilty to the folk tradition.

 

Vic Chestnutt – Coward

Lyrically, there are few singer/songwriters with the literary prowess of Vic Chestnutt and he doesn’t disappoint on his latest release, At The Cut. Released earlier in the year, At The Cut sees Vic team up for the second time with members of Montreal collectives, A Silver Mt. Zion and Godspeed You! Black Emperor and Fugazi. Its a darkly explosive combination, blending Chestnutt’s distinctively simple vocals and guitar playing style with the often mesmeric wail of strings and guitars that Godspeed and Silver Mt. Zion have made their own.

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