new album released Oct 6th
Skitter On Take Off
from the album - Feast In The Time Of Plague
YouTube - Feast in the time of plague -- Vic Chesnutt on Mountain Stage
Though Michael Stipe had been a fan of Vic Chesnutt since the late '80s, producing his first two full-lengths, it took the Sweet Relief Two tribute album to make a star of him in mid-1996. The album featured artists such as Madonna, Hootie & the Blowfish, Smashing Pumpkins, and R.E.M. covering the songs of Chesnutt, a paraplegic who was injured in a car accident when he was 18. The singer/songwriter began playing contemporary acoustic folk around Athens, GA, soon after his injury. A show at the 40 Watt Club brought him to the attention of Stipe, who helped with production on 1990's Little and 1991's West of Rome, both on Texas Hotel Records. A documentary video of Chesnutt's life called Speed Racer was produced and directed by Peter Sillen in 1991, and has aired on PBS. Chesnutt's third album, Drunk, followed in late 1993, but the release of his fourth album was delayed by Chesnutt's membership in Brute, a project with members of Widespread Panic including David A. Schools, Michael Houser, Todd Nance, John Hermann, Johnny Hickman, David Lowery, and John Keane.
After Sweet Relief Two was released in July 1996, Capitol signed Chesnutt and released About to Choke, his major-label debut, in the fall of that year. The Salesman and Bernadette followed in 1998 on Capricorn and featured Lambchop as his backing band. The record's poor sales led him to be dropped by that label, but Chesnutt continued to record, cutting an album with Kelly and Nikki Keneipp called Merriment, which was issued in 2000. That same year, he teamed up with longtime friend and admirer Kristin Hersh for a series of U.S. tour dates. The following year, Chesnutt issued Left to His Own Devices, a collection of rarities, outtakes, and demos. In 2003, Chesnutt struck a deal with the roots rock-oriented New West label, which released his album Silver Lake in 2003. Ghetto Bells, which features contributions from jazz guitarist Bill Frisell and multi-instrumentalist Van Dyke Parks, followed in 2005. The following year, Chesnutt recorded North Star Deserter in Montreal. It was released on Constellation Records in 2007. Dark Developments, a collaboration with fellow Athens hometowners Elf Power, arrived in 2008, followed by At the Cut in 2009.
Only a few months after releasing his sophomore collaboration with Thee Silver Mt. Zion Orchestra, At the Cut, Vic Chesnutt has emerged with his second album of 2009, Skitter on Take-Off, and the two projects could hardly sound more different. While Thee Silver Mt. Zion Orchestra summoned a grand and gloriously idiosyncratic barrage of sound to accompany Chesnutt's songs, Skitter on Take-Off is a spare and minimal affair; Jonathan Richman and his longtime drummer Tommy Larkin produced these sessions, and though they offer understated support on a few songs (most audibly on the upbeat "Society Sue"), for the most part this is just Chesnutt's voice and acoustic guitar, cut live in the studio with a touch so light that at times it seems as if the microphones are eavesdropping on Chesnutt as much as capturing a performance. Chesnutt is an artist who is best served by emotionally direct performances, and the stark intimacy of Skitter on Take-Off largely works in his favor; the venomous whisper of "Dick Cheney" is all the more powerful for the fact there's so little to obscure it, and two lengthy tracks, "Rips in the Fabric" and "Worst Friend," give Chesnutt all the space he needs to spin his curious but compelling tales in all their richly detailed glory. Richman and Larkin are smart enough to know that Chesnutt is a one-of-a-kind songwriter and performer who doesn't need to have his work fussed with to work in the studio, but sometimes, Skitter on Take-Off feels rather too stripped down; the arrangements (or lack of them) give the songs an audio verite feel that's not unflattering, but the occasional interplay between Chesnutt, Richman, and Larkin is strong enough that it seems a lost opportunity that they didn't investigate it further. Skitter on Take-Off isn't perfect, but it ably documents just how remarkable Vic Chesnutt can sound essentially by his lonesome, and few artists could make two albums so different and so impressive within the space of a year — truth to tell, most couldn't do it with five years at their disposal.
1 Feast in the Time of Plague Chesnutt 03:54
2 Unpacking My Suitcase Chesnutt 03:20
3 Dimples Chesnutt 04:11
4 Rips in the Fabric Chesnutt 06:03
5 Society Sue Chesnutt 02:52
6 My New Life Chesnutt 04:13
7 Dick Cheney Chesnutt 03:20
8 Worst Friend Chesnutt 07:49
9 Sewing Machine Chesnutt 04:01