"At The Cut" (2009) by Vic Chesnutt

Wow. Holy shit. This is amazing. I’m at a loss for words. Vic’s last album is gorgeous. It’s beautiful.

Every song is beyond wonderful. Vic sings his haunted, pained voice with label-mates Thee Silver Mt. Zion and the guitarist/singer of Fugazi backing him. The musician choice makes sure that Vic remains at the front of every song – there is no indulgent guitar parts, none of that shit. The album is pure Vic.

Beautiful beautiful. After four bars of the first track I closed my eyes and turned it up. “Coward” opens the album. Vic’s voice is beyond words magnificently amazingly wonderful, strained and perfect. The backing is sublime. The lyrics are threatening and menacing and so well written. There aren’t enough adjectives to describe how simply brilliant this song is. It completely sweeps you away. No joke, I had to sit down the first time I listened to “Coward”.

Plenty more songs stand out. Well, every song. In “Chain”, Vic sings with so much power and emotion that I think my head might explode. “When The Bottom Fell Out” is Vic by himself and his guitar, his beautiful vocals at the forefront, backed by his guitar. His guitar is not played very well, but is played beautifully and fittingly. It adds to the raw emotion in this track. “Chinaberry Tree” builds up into an amazing track. And on and on it goes, every track as good as the one before it, magnificent and wonderful.

Lyrically, it’s amazing. Every song. Absolutely every song. In hindsight, the track that stands out is “Flirted With You All My Life”. With a clever little lyrical twist, this track makes you put your head in your hands and sigh, giving you goosebumps.

There isn’t much more to say about it. I could go on for days about how brilliant and wonderful this album is. If I’d known about it when I did my best of 2009 list, this would be number one. Or at least number two. But probably number one.

Choice tracks: Coward; When The Bottom Fell Out; Chinaberry Tree; Chains; Flirted With You All My Life; Granny. And the rest. But I have to limit myself for this list.
If you like: Right Away, Great Captain!; Thee Silver Mt. Zion; Bill Callahan


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