Release Date: Oct 30, 2012
Record label: Vibration Vineyard
Cody ChesnuTT arrived in 2002 with The Headphone Masterpiece, an eccentric and sprawling debut. He appeared to be the kind of artist who could release a bounty of scattershot but occasionally excellent material on an annual basis. As years without a proper follow-up elapsed -- past a handful of collaborations, compilation appearances, and a 2010 EP -- his enigmatic aura only swelled.
Cody ChesnuTT’s career hasn’t followed any logical or linear progression, nor has it maintained any consistent momentum. And yet, it’s hard not to find his biography inspiring. A workaday long-distance operator in Atlanta, ChesnuTT quit his job in 1992 to pursue his dream of becoming a full-time musician. It took a long time for him to get there, however; ChesnuTT spent some time in the 1990s writing and producing songs for R&B group Six Feet Deep and working with Death Row records, but his first full-length didn’t arrive until 2002.
Cody ChesnuTT had been struggling in pursuit of his dream for over a decade by the time he recorded and released his 2002 debut, The Headphone Masterpiece, a two-disc, 36-track musical confessional. The music within, recorded in his homemade bedroom studio on a four-track in Sonic Promiseland, countered any initial rebuffs, revealing a smart blend of ’60s pop with early ’70s soul and hints of ’90s hip-hop. Never mind that ChesnuTT temporarily rose into the stratosphere when organic hip-hop outfit The Roots reworked ChesnuTT’s hit “The Seed”; the singer’s debut exposed an emotive soul crooner, much like contemporaries Maxwell and D’Angelo.
On "What Kind of Cool (Will We Think of Next)", the Atlanta-born, Tallahassee-residing soul crooner Cody ChesnuTT ruminates on a question that has driven the music industry for decades. As a sultry, self-conscious slab of smooth, Memphis-style soul, the song itself doesn't quite feel "next," but that's not the point. Its power comes from its source: ChesnuTT's got experience on the other side of the equation.
Cody ChesnuTT debuted in 2002 with The Headphone Masterpiece – a brash, aggressively carefree 36-track album, recorded by ChesnuTT entirely in his bedroom. ChesnuTT played sweet lullabies, soul, pop, futuristic funk rap, ‘60s California-sounding folk, and rock. Some songs were as short as 16 seconds, some a full four minutes, and the whole thing was held together by its tinny, lo-fi basement sound and a lot of jokes, most of them dirty – in addition to the famous hook about where ChesnuTT wants to put his seed, there was “I can make any woman mine / because I look good in leather / I can rock her body so good it blows her mind / because I know how to fuck her better.
Soul music often does a good line in redemption narratives; Cody Chesnutt's is particularly mellifluous. Success proved elusive for the sweet-voiced Atlantan guitarist for a decade, until the Roots covered him in 2002. The protagonist of the songs on Landing on a Hundred has lost years to crack, but now gains praise for the straight and narrow with easy-going vintage soul that rolls magnificently on the ear.
Cody ChesnuTT is best known as the featured voice on The Roots’ 2002 crossover smash ‘The Seed v2. 0’, a remake of one of his tracks that after production stints and time in The Crosswalk saw him briefly flirt with the mainstream. On ‘Landing On A Hundred’ he covers a wide spectrum of subject matter from social consciousness to the age old theme of perseverance through struggle, writing from the heart to profound effect.
Ten years ago, when Cody Chesnutt laid down The Headphone Masterpiece, the Atlanta native remained something of a reclusive mad genius. He popped out songs the way Kardashians snap Instagrams – without any editing. From that collection sprang "The Seed" and, in turn, the Roots' eternally awesome "The Seed (2.0)." The recluse then vanished with his royalty checks.
Jamey Johnson From a distance you’d be right to cast a wary eye toward “Livin’ for a Song: A Tribute to Hank Cochran,” which comes with a classic repertory, a nostalgic premise and the guest register of a Nashville gala. Up close the album seems nobly intentioned, and practically hand sewn ….
Modern soul music the way it should be… Wyndham Wallace 2012 If you’re of the opinion that soul music in the 21st century lacks the authenticity of its golden late 1960s / early 1970s period, then Cody ChesnuTT’s return is the news you’ve been waiting for. Ten years after his debut – the sprawling, 36-track The Headphone Masterpiece – the Atlanta, Georgia-born musician is finally back with one of the year’s most joyful albums. It’s also considerably more concise than the lo-fi experiments conducted in his bedroom for his debut – clocking in at just 54 minutes instead of 90 – and far more luxurious.