Friday, September 21, 2007

Vic Chesnutt - North Star Deserter

Vic Chesnutt
North Star Deserter
(09.2007, Constellation)

This review is mostly for those new to Vic Chesnutt. The reason being is that this is my first Vic Chesnutt record though I have known of his prowess. I always cautiously avoid listening to artists who, if they are as good as their resume, require wandering decades into the past to fill a discography. That is exactly what I have feared with Chesnutt of whom his latest, North Star Deserter, is now the thirteenth release. Chesnutt's lyrics trench through similarly poetic and gruff vocal territory as Leonard Cohen, Howe Gelb or Michael Gira; joining him to a cast of characters equally prolific in their output. So now, just as I had to bite the bullet with each of these previously mentioned artists, Chesnutt has provided the impassable North Star Deserter. Employing almost the entire Constellation imprint, Chesnutt is backed here by the entire Silver Mt. Zion Memorial Orchestra, Hangedup, Frankie Sparo and even Guy Picciotto from Fugazi on the record. The results transition between sparsely plucked ballads to thickly orchestrated scorchers; laying the ground work for an album of epic scope. However, even with an all star cast of characters, Chesnutt’s seasoned vocals and tremendous lyrics are always at the forefront, driving each song home. Assuming that such a magnanimous production has not accompanied Chesnutt in the past (and seems to be true from what I have read), it is hard to imagine an alternate accompaniment for North Star Deserter. A solid vision brought to glorious fruitation; on North Star Deserter Chesnutt creates its own definition of beauty.

-Mr. Thistle

Vic Chesnutt on myspace

No comments: