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In a world of sentimental singer-songwriters, Vic Chesnutt stands out. With a curmudgeon’s clear eyes, he renders ordinary despair poetic and lovely. Consider “Arthur Murray” from 1998’s The Salesman and Bernadette: “Emasculate me with your biology/Break me, bend me, I’m worthless/One wicked band from your torturous hand/You laugh when I tell you you’re gorgeous.” Despite his well-documented grouchiness (veteran audience members expect to be berated), Chesnutt has found many willing collaborators. His most recent album, 2007’s North Star Deserter, was crafted with the assistance of Fugazi’s Guy Picciotto and Howard Bilerman, formerly of Arcade Fire, and it won accolades for its marriage of folk austerity with dense soundscapes. Picciotto also appears on Chesnutt’s upcoming record, At the Cut, and will share the stage with Chesnutt at the Black Cat.
Vic Chesnutt performs with Guy Picciotto at 9 P.M. on Friday, Oct. 30, at the Black Cat, 1811 14Th St. NW. $15. (202) 667-4490.