Yesterday I featured a track from the incredible Thee Silver Mount Zion who will be performing at LSPU Hall tonight (August 7th) and Wednesday (August 8th). I was first introduced to the group’s music through their collaboration with one of my favorite singer-songwriters, Vic Chesnutt. Chesnutt has long been a little-known genius in the world of music, garnering little public attention for his brilliant songs until after his death in 2009. Considering his friends Silver Mount Zion are in town, I thought I’d use today’s track as an opportunity to sing Vic’s praises.
When Chesnutt was eighteen years old he was involved in a car accident that left him partially paralyzed. Although confined to a wheelchair, he soon realized he could still play simple guitar chords and started writing music largely using nylon strings, which required less pressure to play. Vic started playing live around his hometown of Athens, Georgia, and before long had amassed a small but loyal fan-base, which included fellow Athens native Michael Stipe of R.E.M. Stipe encouraged Vic to record his music and even produced his first two albums, Little (1990), and West of Rome (1992). From there Vic went on to record more than sixteen albums and earned himself a following among fellow musicians, including Canada’s own Cowboy Junkies, who invited Chesnutt to perform with them and guests Natalie Merchant and Ryan Adams on the 20th Anniversary edition reworking of their landmark Trinity Sessions. Cowboy Junkies also recorded an album of Chesnutt covers entitled Demons as part of their Nomad Series last year.
In 2007 Vic worked with Montreal’s Silver Mount Zion to record his phenomenal North Star Deserter. This collaboration added a new depth and intensity to Chesnutt’s typically stripped down sound. His compositions were now complimented by layers of violins and atmospheric guitar. Today’s track “Flirted With You All My Life” is from Vic’s second collaboration with Silver Mount Zion, his 2009 swansong, At The Cut.
Unfortunately the opportunity to see Vic live eluded me all these years but I am delighted to be able to see his fellow musical geniuses Thee Silver Mount Zion this week at LSPU Hall. Tickets are still available for the shows tonight’s and tomorrow’s shows at LSPU Hall. I would highly recommend checking them out.