- 22 Apr 01
Vic Chesnutt The Salesman And Bernadette (Pinnacle)
The Salesman And Bernadette (Pinnacle)
Make no mistake, The Salesman And Bernadette is extremely low-key indeed. If you have the time and the ear for the job, though, this is an album that has the power to make you weep.
Such a gentle love song as ‘Bernadette And Her Crowd’ is a rare gem in the noisy modern world. Vic draws up compassion from the depths of his being and the listener’s, leaving us all more complete as a result.
The overall mood is a little like you’d find if you wandered into a bar in a small town anywhere in the world, and encountered a shattered but soulful (and brassy) collection of musicians strumming away those late night ‘bucolic’ blues. Chessnut has the ability to sound absolutely country town hall, and – this is the secret – also transcendent. The most apt comparison that springs to mind is a Patrick McCabe novel.
His characters have life and death summed up in three minutes (‘Woodrow Wilson’). The ordinary becomes transformed without ever losing sight of its mundane nature (‘Duty Free’). Chesnutt explores what happens after the celebrations are over and you’re left by yourself (‘Parade’).
His heart is with the abandoned – listen to the way he sings “just a tired old alchyholic”, using that incorrect pronunciation of the ‘y’ on the haunting ‘Square Room’, and you will know what I mean.
Vic Chesnutt has a unique ability to concoct insightful, thoughtful and wonderfully tragi-comical narratives. The Salesman And Bernadette confirms his continuing status as a died-in-the-wool, 100% proof genius.