Of course, his Dulcinea never shows up. The only heavenly vision we see is duet partner Emmylou Harris, whose warble on the gentle "Woodrow Wilson" gives the record its only feminine touch. The rest--whether giddy or grim, "shaking with laughter" or "drinking from a nasty water fountain"--is a blessed mess of dislocated signs and scarred significance covering up the apologia of a man who knows he beat himself to his own demise. "I alienated those I was trying just so-so hard to impress/Now half those fuckers hate me and I'm just a fool to all the rest," Vic sings against windy feedback on the bitter "Square Room." But this fool's paradise could keep running on empty--as long as the band keeps the keys to the tour van.
Misery hates company: Wallace Stevens-reading, Tom T. Hall-schooled baroque folkie Vic Chesnutt