atthecutImagine how maddening it must be to find out that, for the past 20 years, you’ve been ignoring a major voice in the indie universe. And he was right under your nose in ’96 when that second Sweet Relief compilation, Gravity of the Situation – The Songs of Vic Chesnutt, hit the shelves. Sure, you can be forgiven for allowing the bigger names on the first Sweet Relief (like Pearl Jam and Soul Asylum) cause you to forget that the second one even came out.

But when you keep hearing the name “Vic Chesnutt” pop up in conversation and appear in print pretty regularly over the years, and still you can’t remember whether you’ve even heard the guy before… what kind of insanity is that?

Forget the fact that he’s from Athens, GA. Or that he’s been bound to a wheelchair since an accident he suffered at the age of 18. Or that it was the girl with the guano-covered back who turned you on to this dude’s quietly biting, ironic lyrical sensibility that expresses pain without any need or desire for pity. Or that he’s probably more vital than you are at this very moment. (If you think I’m talking to myself right now, you might be right. But I’ll never tell you one way or the other. Admit it, you love a mystery.)

Instead, just give a listen to “Philip Guston,” from Chesnutt’s forthcoming LP, At the Cut (due out September 22 on the Constellation label). Dig Chesnutt’s unapologetically gravelly vocals, and his artful repetition of words, leading to louder sections of screaming guitars. That’s guitarist Guy Picciotto you’re hearing on this track, adding a touch of the righteous force he brought to Fugazi and Rites of Spring. And Nadia Moss’ organ slinkily answering Chesnutt’s “bad habits” refrain. Creepy. Dramatic. Intense. Awesome.

Let not this kind of oversight happen again.

Vic Chesnutt on tour, Autumn 2009:

October 23: Mavericks – Ottawa, ON
October 24: Ukranian Federation Hall – Montreal, QC
October 25: Sommerville Theater – Cambridge, MA
October 26: Bowery Ballroom – New York, NY
October 27: Music Hall of Williamsburg – Brooklyn, NY
October 28: First Unitarian Church – Philadelphia, PA
October 29: Ottobar – Baltimore, MD
October 30: Black Cat – Washington, DC
October 31: The Soapbox – Wilmington, NC
November 1: The EARL – Atlanta, GA
November 2: 40 Watt Club – Athens, GA
November 4: Southgate House – Newport, KY
November 5: Lincoln Hall – Chicago, IL
November 6: Detroit Institute of Arts – Detroit, MI
November 7: LeeÁ¢€â„¢s Palace – Toronto, ON
November 19: Cedar Cultural Center – Minneapolis, MN
November 20: West End Cultural Centre – Winnipeg, MB
November 21: AmigoÁ¢€â„¢s – Saskatoon, SK
November 22: McDougall United Church – Edmonton, AB
November 23: Knox United Church – Calgary, AB
November 25: Richards on Richards – Vancouver, BC
November 26: Lucky Bar – Victoria, BC
November 27: Crocodile – Seattle, WA
November 28: Mississippi Studios – Portland, OR
November 30: Great American Music Hall – San Francisco, CA
December 1: The Regent – Los Angeles, CA
December 2: Club Congress – Tucson, AZ
December 4: HaileyÁ¢€â„¢s – Denton, TX
December 5: Central Presbyterian Church – Austin, TX

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About the Author

Michael Fortes

Michael Fortes began writing for Popdose upon its launch in January of 2008, following a music writing journey that began with his high school newspaper and eventually led to print and web publications such as Performer Magazine and Born and raised in The Biggest Little State in the Union (otherwise known as Rhode Island), Michael relocated in 2004 to San Francisco, where he works as an office professional during the day, sings harmonies in Sugar Candy Mountain at night, and religiously supports the local San Francisco Bay Area music scene nearly every chance he gets.

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