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Left to His Own Devices

4.1 out of 5 stars 8 customer reviews

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Audio CD, April 24, 2001
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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

This new album his 9th is a wonderful collection of raritiesand demos from this extraordinnarily gifted musician. Vic has toured with and influenced artists such as, Bob Mould, Kristen Hersh, Wilco, Soul Asylum, Goo-Goo Dolls, Live, Victoria Williams, Gia

Amazon.com

Vic Chesnut's return to home recording on this release is by no means a step backwards. After working with the likes of Lambchop, Chesnutt returns to what sounds like the most natural of recording situations: doing it himself at home. Left to His Own Devices is a rather stunning lo-fi document. Rather than coming off as underproduced or slapdash, Chesnutt uses recording at home to full advantage. Songs like "Twelve Johnnies" and "Thought You Were My Friend" are fully embellished productions (with keyboards, guitar effects, etc.), while the charming "Wounded Prince" is delivered with just guitar and voice. The murky sound adds to the proceedings by lending an air of timelessness and mystery, or perhaps it's just Mr. Chesnutt's timeless and mysterious songs. While being referred to as the Leonard Cohen of Athens is a bit of a stretch (his style is closer to that of Cat Stevens), Vic Chesnutt has once again shown himself to be a singer-songwriter of uncommon depth. --Mike Johnson

Track Listings

Disc: 1

  1. Deadline
  2. Very Friendly Lighthouses
  3. Fish
  4. Twelve Johnnies
  5. Wounded Prince
  6. We Should Be So Brave
  7. Cash
  8. In Amongst The Millions
  9. Hermitage
  10. Caper
  11. Thought You Were My Friend
  12. My Last Act
  13. Distortion
  14. Squeak
  15. Look At Me


Product Details

  • Audio CD (April 24, 2001)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Spin Art
  • ASIN: B00005AVOA
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #219,687 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Audio CD
I read some criticisms of this CD and was completely baffled. I too have been a fan of Vic's since he released his first CD, Little. I have every album and this one may be his best yet. Vic, I don't know how you do it. These songs are so heart-breakingly beautiful, I cry every time I hear them. I'm particularly amazed that Vic wrote all of these songs, recorded them in his living room by himself and mixed the CD on a desktop computer. A one-man miracle. Thank you, Vic for making the most uplifting, inpsiring, beautiful, thoughtful music I've had the pleasure of listening to in a long, long time.
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Format: Audio CD
This is a great home recording!Every song stands out!I've only recently discovered this man and i know without a doubt he is definately the greatest singer, songwriter on this earth!Vic has more insight and heart than any other musician i've heard,I'm 43 years old and i've heard alot of music but nothing as good as Vic Chesnutt!Buy two copies of this cd and all his other cds.His music is hard to find in just any record store, so get it while you can!
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Format: Audio CD
Whatever my expectations as to what constitutes a Chesnutt album, this CD eluded them. This is easily the furthest from the locus of Vic's canon to date. Distortion is a key track which provides the theme of this work. Every song is muddied, confused and hidden behind a layer of verbal obscurity and scratchy instrumentation. The most obvious comparison (and one which other reviewers will make) is to Daniel Johnston's home-made cassettes, in which the recording quality is both unendurable and an essential part of the experience. People who buy this CD should feel proud that they have made the effort to find music that will never disturb the shallow waters in which modern pop music floats. This is a musician/poet who is saying something. To understand this music requires an investment, but there is a pay off. What Chesnutt is writing about is not immediate or obvious. And it's not just the words, which may never be deciphered, it's a sensibility- a series of mental states. Join him in his subcutaneous homesick shoes.
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Format: Audio CD
Artists evolve, and Vic's last 2 albums--_Salesman and Bernadette_, and _Merriment_--signaled an evolution of Vic's style, relying on fuller accompaniment and a less folksy sound. But with _Left to His Own Devices_, Vic returns to familiar territory for his longtime fans. Many of the 15 tracks bring the attention back to the rich, compelling lyrics for which Vic is so well-known.
On all but two tracks of this minimally mastered home recording, Vic plays all the instruments (with Tina Chesnutt contributing lead guitar and bass on a couple of songs). "Cash," "In Amongst the Millions," and "My Last Act" are as at home on this album as on _West of Rome_ or _Is the Actor Happy?_ This is the Vic album I've been waiting for since _About to Choke_.
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