The Genius That Is Vic Chesnutt

Why more people don’t know about Vic Chesnutt I will never know. Everytime somebody sees one of his albums lying about my flat or car or if I have him on the stereo, they ask “who’s Vic Chesnutt”. It’s fair enough, but the man is a genius songwriter and is a bit like Daniel Johnston in the world of music in the sense that he is revered by his fellow musicians. So much so that in 1996 a tribute CD was produced for Sweet Relief ( with Vic’s songs being covered by artists such as REM, Garbage, Sparklehorse and even Madonna – and her song is actually one of the best on the album in my humble opinion!

Anyways, I think he has about 13 proper studio albums to his name and has had amazing backing bands in the studio such as Lampchop on ‘The Salesman and Bernadette’ and The Silver Mt Zion Orchestra & Tra La La Band on 2007s ‘North Star Deserter’ – his best album in my opinion. We actually owe the success of this man to Michael Stipe of REM who spotted him playing in Athens, Georgia and produced his first 2 albums championing him as a genius. He’s right. He is. I never tire of listening to his tunes and I don’t have 1 album which is the same as the next, which is always refreshing in an artist.

I read this great quote of his whilst writing this post:

“Other people write about the bling and the booty. I write about the pus and the gnats. To me, that’s beautiful”

And it’s true. He does sing about the most bizarre things. But his bizareness, similar to Daniel Johnston is what makes him endlessly endearing and I find myself going back to his music time and time again. If you’ve never heard of him. Go check him out now at:


The Kays Lavelle @ Sneaky Pete’s, Sunday 5th April

So that was a lot of fun. Been a while since I enjoyed playing so much. Makes me feel really excited about the Tuts show next week. And I managed to sell a few tickets for that show as well. I think our set has come together nicely and things were sounding pretty sweet. Next week will be tinged with a massive amount of sadness as we say goodbye to band members who have been an important part in many adventures together. Graeme and I are looking forward to the future of the band but plan to enjoy every second of next weeks show. Please, if you are free and you can make it along please do. Give me a shout if you want tickets. Can guarantee it will be a good night. Sure of it. Really looking forward to it now. Off to bed, the new rock n’roll is do a gig and then head home to bath your little boy, then hit the hay! Good times.

Woodpigeon – Treasury Library Canada

So I am a little surprised I haven’t read more about these guys on other blog spots. I don’t know Mark personally, but both Bart from eagleowl and Jake our bass player are good friends of his and through them I have been fortunate to know about Woodpigeon for some time.  I have also had the pleasure of seeing them live in the past when they have visited Edinburgh.   I have however, not bought any of their music until now.  I have heard bits and pieces in the past but have never really sat down and properly listened to Mark’s stuff despite having really enjoyed everything I’d heard previously  And I am glad I bought this.

Sufjan Stevens and Elliott Smith fans, get your credit card/cash out and go and buy this lovely album.  Whilst I am not saying that Woodpigeon sound like either of these artists, I do hear the influences in the music from the lovely moments of strings to the way that the vocals are recorded and the actual vocal itself.  This is album doesn’t quite sparkle in pop terms but it does shimmer and it dips and swerves and leaves a thoroughly pleasant after taste.  I always know I like an album when it goes on repeat and this has indeed been on repeat today.  Track 3 on the album ‘In the Battle of Sun vs Curtains, Sun Loses and We Sleep Until Noon’ is quite magnificent.  Probably the stand out on the album for me.  But the album is filled with little gems and once again a fascinating and talented act emerge from Canada.  I hope that these guys can spread their wings and grab the attention of more than just the Edinburgh music scene across here.  A fantastic album by a band I really should have checked out properly before now and you should too.  Do it now.

TSP Grade = B

What On Earth Is Gary Teale Doing Getting A Game For Scotland

Ok.  So Scotland had a lot of injury problems for the last 2 World Cup qualifiers.  Add to this the 2 numptys who decided to get wasted at the weekend between matches….. I mean come on.  How stupid do you have to be???  One gets his first full start against the Netherlands and the other is the captain of his Country who is not playing particularly well for club or country.  If there were ever 2 players who shouldn’t be getting smashed between crucial matches, it was these 2.  I am no Rangers fan, but I do know many a Rangers fan who would like to see the back of the Scottish drinkers at the club.  Lets face it Kris Boyd always looks like he’s had 3 or 4 pints the night before, when he plays.  I guess whats so frustrating for all involved is that McGregor, Ferguson and Boyd all have bags and bags of potential.  Why can’t they just stay off the drink until they retire or at least stay off it during the season?  It’s not a huge sacrifice and they’d be better players for it.  Too many players have fallen foul of this cycle.  Charlie Miller is the perfect example.  Bags of talent, but we used to see him in our local pub downing pints and smoking fags all the time!  So whilst it came as no surprise – especially that McGregor was involved! – it is really still disappointing.   However, even with these 2 players missing and all the injury worries we had, I still cannot get over the fact that Gary Teale still gets a game for Scotland.  Don’t get me wrong.  He’s not an awful player, but he is certainly not international class.  My friend summed it up when he said he hoped he continued to be picked because if Gary Teale is in the squad he himself feels he still has a chance to play football for Scotland!  Poor Gary.  I shouldn’t single him out for criticism.  No, I should save that for the woeful Gary Caldwell.  The over the hill Gary Naismith and the man with the worst first touch in world football Kenny Miller.  The latter of course is passionate, he works his little socks off and has to be admired for his commitment and passion……..oh dear.  That’s all I’ve got for him.  Come on, he blamed the sticky pitch for wasting his chance against the Dutch – didn’t see the pitch bothering Arjen Robben as he ripped our defence to shreds!  It’s not all doom and gloom.  We do have class players in Craig Gordon, Alan Hutton, Darren Fletcher, Scott Brown and the exceptional prospect Ross McCormack.  I also like the look of James Morrison (though I’m sure he’s actually a singer-songwriter) and with James McFadden to come back and a host of good young players coming through we should be ok in the future.  I do really think that Walter Smith needs to get a hold of John Fleck now though and tell him not to hang about with Ferguson, McCulloch, McGregor, Boyd  etc.  If he’s as good as they say he is then lets hope he can stay away from the booze and the nightclubs.  I actually read Barry Ferguson say the other week that Fleck is a young lad who is bound to get caught coming out of a nightclub and get himself into trouble??  Why??  Cause he’s Scottish???

Anyways, at least we’re back in the chase for 2nd spot.  I think the Dutch are home and dry in terms of qualification – unless they come across some sticky pitches in their next few matches.

Team Turnip @ Limbo This Evening

So tonight I am playing piano and a little korg for my friend Russell Kostulin, aka Team Turnip, at Limbo at the Voodoo Rooms.  Think we’re on stage about 8.30pm if anyone is about and fancies some sunshine pop.  Well I say sunshine pop but Russell’s songs may sound bright and summery but there are seriously dark undertones to his lyrics.  I mean, the boy sings about self harm among other things.  I have to admit, I never thought I’d enjoy playing such jup beat music but I absolutely love his tunes.  He’s going back in the studio to record some more tracks this month and I believe his plans are to either release 2 EPs or 1 album later this year.  And he won’t disappoint, trust me.  The man is an instrumental genius and his songs are just lovely slices of perfect pop.  His influences range from Belle and Sebastain (yuck) through Sufjan Stevens (yay) and I can guarantee his EP/album will be something special when it’s released later this year.  Anyways, I am really looking forward to this evening.  It’s always nice to play music for other people.  I get to play piano and just enjoy myself without the stress and hassle of organising everything and having to talk on stage.  Life is much easier when I don’t have to open my mouth.

On Sunday the Kays are back on the live scene as well.  We’re playing Sneaky Pete’s at a night organised by Glasgow based promoters Blue Panda.  We are on the same bill as Come On Gang! and Vendor Defendor.  Not entirely sure how we will work on that bill, but we have the Tuts gig next Saturday and very much using this show to warm up for that.  It will be a sad occasion though as it will be our last Edinburgh show with the current line up.  After Tuts bot Jake and Grant will be leaving the band and we will be moving on to pastures new.  Also after Tuts, we will be taking a break to get the album finished and ready to go and will not be back until August I think when we play the Leith Tape Club.  Anyways, looking forward to the shows in the next couple of weeks.  So if you’re free tonight or Sunday please come along and support Team Turnip and The Kays.  If you are really adventurous, give me a shout and I can sort you out with a ticket for King Tuts next Saturday.  Should be a good one.