Release Date: Sep 22, 2009
Record label: Constellation
Genre(s): Rock, Alternative, Folk
At the Cut reunites Vic Chesnutt with several of the collaborators who helped make his extraordinary 2007 album, North Star Deserter, and while you can't force lightning to strike twice in the same place, Chesnutt and this group of gifted musicians have managed to create something similarly powerful and affecting that also has a personality of its own. With Howard Bilerman behind the recording console, Guy Picciotto helping with the production and arrangements, and members of Silver Mt. Zion Orchestra accompanying Chesnutt, this follows a similar template to North Star Deserter, but At the Cut manages to sound more approachable and direct while still conjuring up striking and atmospheric clouds of sound that reinforce Chesnutt's melodies while broadening their horizons into something grand, beautiful, and challenging.
Vic Chesnutt could rarely be accused of having a sunny disposition, but even considering that, his latest album features some truly harrowing material. On his latest LP, At the Cut, he is staring mortality in the eye, taking on existential themes with a pile of cultural references, and still working his mind around the nearly fatal accident that left him paraplegic on the verge of adulthood in 1983. As on 2007's North Star Deserter, Chesnutt is here joined by members of Godspeed You! Black Emperor, and Thee Silver Mount Zion Memorial Orchestra, as well as Fugazi's Guy Picciotto.
Vic Chesnutt doesn’t enjoy as exalted a reputation as he might. The Athens, Georgia singer-songwriter has been recording for close on 25 years, and in that time has enjoyed the patronage of actual famous people, like Michael Stipe and Emmylou Harris, as well as famous-among-you-lot individuals like Efrim Menuck of Godspeed You! Black Emperor and Fugazi’s Guy Picciotto, both of whom play on At The cut, his 12th solo album. However, his commercial reach falls some way short of a number of artist for whom he could be deemed a prototype: Will Oldham, Smog and Bright Eyes come swiftly to mind.