Wednesday, February 3, 1999

Review - The Salesman and Bernadette

Artist: Vic Chestnutt

Posted on Wed, Feb 3, 1999 at 4:00 AM

The Salesman and Bernadette
Label: Capricorn
Media: CD
Format: Album
WorkNameSort: The Salesman and Bernadette

Singer-songwriter Vic Chestnutt is a master storyteller whose songs are characterized by a crooked elegance. Acoustic and electric guitar, trumpet, pedal steel and at least three types of organ hang loosely over the bones of his idiosyncratic vocal melodies. (Fellow Athens, Ga., band Lambchop provides much of the instrumentation.)

"Replenished" is a rockabilly hoot in which Chestnutt sings in typically abstract narrative style: "Morning is warming on your mouth, last days of direct sunlight for this part of the house." Other songs have a classic folk-blues sound reminiscent of Bob Dylan or Cat Stevens. The album's highlight is the dusky, down-tempo "Wood-row Wilson," featuring Emmylou Harris as "the remembered voice of Bernadette."

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