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West of Rome


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Audio CD, August 20, 2002
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Audio, Cassette, February 9, 1994
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Visit Amazon's Vic Chesnutt Store
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (August 20, 2002)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Texas Hotel Records
  • ASIN: B000001HQN
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #785,013 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

1. Latent
2. Blatant
3. Bug
4. Withering
5. Sponge
6. Where Were You
7. Lucinda Williams
8. Florida
9. Stupid Preoccupations
10. Panic Pure
11. Miss Mary
12. Steve Willoughby
13. West Of Rome
14. Big Huge Valley
15. Soggy Tongues

Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5 stars
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See all 16 customer reviews
Heart wrenching and beautiful at every turn.
Luis F Guevara
For those just getting their feet wet, this is probably THE best place to start.
K. H. Orton
Well, Vic is a very unique singer/songwriter.
E. Klein

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on January 6, 1999
Format: Audio CD
Vic Chesnutt may well be the greatest popular music lyricist of his time. Awash with brilliant wordplay and allusion, his sad, funny songs reveal the complexities of individual consciousness to an extent that no other writer has done. After hours of listening to this album, you'll finally begin to realize his grasp of self, how fully he realizes the absurdity of life. "West of Rome" is his first masterpiece,a kind of folk tour through Athens, Georgia, that bohemian enclave in the heart of the rural South. Vic fights through the social gnats of "Soggy Tongues" while attempting to understand himself ("Stupid Preoccupations"), and the culture which he was raised in ("Bug"). Along the way, he notes in exquisite detail characters and situations that would "make a whale of a movie", a poignant, realistic one. Endlessy clever and inventive in rhyme, always sincere in emotion, "West of Rome" functions as the musical successor of Faulkner and O'Connor, and is a work of genius.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By E. Klein on July 21, 2004
Format: Audio CD
This is my very first Vic Chesnutt album so I am not going to compare it to any of his others - I can't even compare it to any other album that I own (and I own many). Why? Well, Vic is a very unique singer/songwriter. The closest comparison I can make is to Bob Dylan mixed with REM (which makes sense when you consider Michael Stipe produced this album). Two musicians I love, but would not necessarily put together in my CD player. Somehow though, it works (and works well).

Standout tracks include...

#1 Bug - the song makes me laugh and the chorus gets stuck in my head, but in a good way.

#6 Florida - such a pretty sounding song that says some not so nice things...I swear Michael Stipe sings a bit on this one too, but no credit is given to him for vocals.

#7 Stupid Preoccupations - a catchy self-deprecating song.

#10 Steve Willoughby - again with the self-deprecating, but this one pokes funs at others too.

#13 Soggy Tongues - I absolutely love the music, the words are a pleasant bonus.

#15 Nathan - haunting...I feel like you could make a movie based on this song. Bonus Track

#16 Where's the Clock - My favorite song on the album. Poetic and lyrical. Bonus Track

#18 Flying - Not much music, it's more of a sing-talk thing. Very melancholy. Bonus Track

#21 Confusion - There is a beautiful symmetry to this song with the lyrics and the instrumental. Bonus Track

#22 Shipping Out - Vic's voice isn't what you would call pretty, but it sounds very sweet on this one. A great album ender. Bonus Track (can you tell I liked the bonus tracks?)

In general the 22 songs on West of Rome are witty and melancholy. I am hopelessly and completely addicted and have filled my wish list with the rest of Vic?s recordings. Highly recommended album.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By K. H. Orton VINE VOICE on September 30, 2004
Format: Audio CD
"When the bug hits, that's the time to scratch it"...

That's the opening sentiment of this record. In terms of WEST OF ROME, that's good advice. Vic Chesnutt's world is one where front porches are "filled with greasy, greasy grannies". Where Florida is "The Redneck Riviera". Not to mention the perfect place to "retire from life".

3 songs in, he's singing about the world being a spronge. & Chesnutt pretty much writes like one. Soaking up all the eccentricities of the world around him & then wringing out every last drop for your entertainment. Without a doubt, he is one of the most original & compelling songwriters to come out of the 90's Indy revolution. The same era that spawned the likes of Will Oldham & Elliott Smith.

If "Bruce" sings for the working man & Tom Waits is the poet laureate of the gutter, well then, I'll go far as to say Chesnutt's the small Southern town equivalent. Fans of REM, who miss the quirky Southern charms of their early work, can find more than a few fables of the Reconstruction here. One listen & you'll not be surprised to hear Mr. Stipe produced this gem.

WEST OF ROME is without a doubt, considered a heavy contender among Chestnutt admirers. And the bonus tracks alone are going to be enough to rope them in again. Especially "Flying", "Dying Young" & "Shipping Out". For those just getting their feet wet, this is probably THE best place to start. The perfect introduction.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Thomas Mathew on December 7, 1999
Format: Audio CD
Vic's self described "Sophomore Squirt," West of Rome, is a strange collection of smart, quirky, beautiful songs, produced by the loving hands of Mr. Mikey Stipe. Though there seems to have been some friction between the two (judging from some rather odd liner notes), the results are stunning. Vic is NOT your run-of-the-mill singer/songwriter type, and this might cause some to snap the CD in two upon first listen. But for some (me included), Vic's bizzaro lyrics and simple melodies sink their teeth into you--and the teeth stay sunk. Try this on for size: "feathers are falling and I can't dodge them / the tar is oozing from my little noggin / it's ugly, ancient residue / now there ain't no mistaking who's been accused." Well, sounds kinda awful in cold print. But for my money, Vic is a gem, and this album is his best.
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