Somebody must have tipped Vic Chesnutt that he's got fans in Montreal's underground music scene. The revered paraplegic folk singer from Athens, Georgia, has made Thee Silver Mt. Zion Memorial Orchestra and members of God Speed You Black Emperor key contributors to his thoroughly Canadianized new album, North Star Deserter.
Recording in Hotel2Tango, the Montreal underground's version of Abbey Road, Chesnutt gives free artistic reign to his new friends, including Fugazi's Guy Picciotto, to explode with symphonic eruptions of guitars and strings (Everything I Say) before retreating to leave Chesnutt alone with his half-spoken melodies and delicate acoustic plucking.
The surging crescendos and improv freedom give his wordy songs a refreshing dynamic that could gain the 41-year-old folk troubadour an entirely new audience.