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West Of Rome

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Performer Notes
  • Vic Chesnutt is a very unique, peculiar personality and songwriter who shares the company of folks like Kristin Hersh, Mary Margaret O'Hara, Victoria Williams, Howe Gelb, and Benjamin Smoke. He's a charter member of that pantheon of brilliant songwriters and performers who are all defined by singularity, but are not ruled by quirk and never allow themselves to fall into self-parody. All play a skewed, refracted version of Americana that is haunting, funny, poignant, and occasionally mystical, usually all at once. West of Rome is a spare, skeletal record that's inhabited by all of the aforementioned qualities, is beautiful in its simplicity and finds strength in imperfection. Chesnutt's craggy voice, classical guitar, and outrageous imagination are his tools, and his performances were faithfully preserved by Scott Stuckey's resonant living room production. After a few spins, listening to Chesnutt and company sound like they're playing in your living room, the record begins to sound familiar; its nooks and crannies, cracks and crevices start to feel homey and comfortable, like an old house or an old friend. There's a humble magic that West of Rome perpetuates that is ultimately the most enchanting thing about it -- it offers a gentle reminder of things that are far too often taken for granted to those who care to listen. ~ Bryan Carroll
Professional Reviews
Q (9/94, p.98) - 3 Stars - Good - "...the sound is familiar to anyone who enjoys the more ruminative side of R.E.M.--unsurprisingly, since Michael Stipe is the producer..."

Uncut (p.110) - 5 stars out of 5 - "[The album] sees him peering out of his spyglass at human frailty writ large and helpless..."

Alternative Press (1/93, p.55) - "...A chronicler of unusual situations and observances, Chesnutt is what used to be called a storyteller..."

Option (Jan-Feb/93, p.85) - "...Chesnutt's rudimentary guitar style and biting lyrics remain....another triumph..."
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