Customer Review

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars ... an excellent tribute to late songwriter ..., 10 Mar 2011
This review is from: Demons: The Nomad Series Volume 2 (Audio CD)
Vic Chesnutt was an American singer / songwriter. Left partially paralysed by a car accident in 1983, on Christmas Day 2009, he died of an overdose, following a reported suicide attempt, at the age of 45. He had toured alongside the Cowboy Junkies, and they had planned to make a record with Chesnutt. So, the projected collaboration ended up as this tribute, with the Junkies performing an album's worth of Chesnutt's songs.

The last Nomad Series album, "Renmin Park" was inspired by a visit to China, and wasn't the easiest of listens. However, despite the undertone of tragedy, and the torment inherent in the songs of Vic Chesnutt, this actually makes for a better record. The album title actually gives the fame away, as "Demons" were the central focus of the songs written by Chesnutt. Presented here by the purity of Margo Timmins voice, they take on a new dimension, far away from the croak of their originator, and end up presenting an even bleaker worldview.

There is a surprising amount of upbeat arrangements on the record, but nothing takes away from the darkness of the soul displayed on songs like 'Square Room', the Chesnutt track that has always resonated with me most. "Just a tired old alcoholic, waxing bucolic, shivering and homesick, staring at a wooden floor, staring at a wooden floor. Last night I nearly killed myself, chasing rum with rum, there were crows flying all around my head, and I sure caught and ate me some."

There's some amazing guitar playing on 'Supernatural', the stripped down 'Flirted With You All My Life' is just heart rending, and the arrangement on 'Square Room' is almost invisible at times, but still remarkable. The final number, 'When The Bottom Fell Out' is introduced by Chesnutt himself. Not from beyond the grave, but a live recording made before his death. Then the band and the brass kick in, and it ends up a celebration of the songwriting skill of Chesnutt.

It's a remarkably good album, one that Junkies fans will warm to instantly, and an excellent tribute to their friend.
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