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Vic Chesnutt, who plays the ArtsCenter on April 5, has always written songs that are raw and eccentric and damaged and poignant and somehow uniquely Southern. Call him the Howard Finster of music. The tunes on Chesnutt's latest album--Silverlake, just out on the fine New West label--are no exception, ranging from a hospital-room pop song titled "Fa La La" to "Girl's Say," a men-are-from-Athens/women-are-from-Atlanta dialogue with Chesnutt inhabiting both roles. Best of all, and the best of the year thus far, is "Band Camp." It's a tale of senior/freshman romance hatched at marching band camp, driven by 12-string Rickenbacker and a funky, Bourbon Street drumbeat and grounded by a realistic non-perfect ending. Recorded in an old mansion with an ace band, Silverlake sounds wonderful, too; it's soul music for the folk-rock set. Recent Merge Records recruit M. Ward opens the show, with a bunch of his lovely, somber folk songs in tow. Call 967-9053 for information.

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