At the Cut
As with his previous album, North Star Deserter, At the Cut teams Vic Chesnutt with members of Silver Mt. Zion and Godspeed You! Black Emperor and Fugazi’s Guy Picciotto for a celebrated sound that can blast through the speakers with heavy metal doom (“Coward,” “Philip Guston”) or more likely lull you with subtle touches (“Concord Country Jubilee”). Chesnutt doesn’t need much to control the energy in a room. In fact, many of his finest recordings have featured compact arrangements. Here, he does it all with just a few spare acoustic guitar notes and his limited but incredibly appealing and empathetic voice in “When the Bottom Fell Out.” His dance with death in “Flirted with You All My Life” supports its overwhelming sorrow with ghostly keyboards floating just behind his anguished voice. He’s more at humor with himself for “It Is What It Is,” where he manages to work in the word “doofus” without a blink. He ends on a sweet, sentimental note with “Granny,” where he continues to see a life rich with family and sweet, quirky moments that stay with you a lifetime.