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An introduction to the groundbreaking psyche of eclectic soul singer Cody ChesnuTT, playing World Cafe Live tomorrow

Cody ChesnuTT | Photo by Matthew Shaver | www.mattshaverphoto.com
Cody ChesnuTT | Photo by Matthew Shaver | www.mattshaverphoto.com

There are not too many musicians, especially in contemporary RnB, like Cody ChesnuTT. The Atlanta-bred, Tallahassee-based singer-songwriter has flirted with both stardom and DIY ethics in a way that places him very much outside of the institutional structures of many musical peers (well, at least, those who could even think to call themselves peers). For this reason, among others, his performance tomorrow night at World Cafe Live is a welcome introduction into his very peculiar and groundbreaking psyche.

After missteps with Hollywood Records in the early 2000s, ChesnuTT retreated from the specter of pop success and recorded his 2002 debut over two years while holed up in his bedroom. The Headphone Masterpiece, a double-disc album, essentially functions as a sort of career manifesto. His lo-fi approach and disregard for RnB convention, played out over a comically-long release filled with short and patchily irreverent songs like “Look Good in Leather” and “Bitch, I’m Broke”, is the sort of artistic move more associated with rock artists like Guided by Voices or Pavement.

His subversion, especially in a genre better known for epic gestures and high production quality, would be rewarded when The Roots picked him up for a remake of his song “The Seed”. The ensuring song, 2003’s “The Seed 2.0”, would go on to become one of the group’s biggest hits; even with this push, ChesnuTT eschewed fame and quietly released two albums before, 10 years later, emerging on Kickstarter and asking fans to contribute to 2012’s full-band Landing on a Hundred. In the interim, the legacy of Masterpiece continues to loom large over his eccentric and intricately brilliant releases.

If his live videos are any indication, tonight’s show at World Cafe Live promises a classic soul spectacle turned on its head, with ChesnuTT’s troubador-like storytelling and performance art theatrics taking center stage and illuminating why he’s always worth watching.

Cody ChesnuTT performs on the World Cafe Live stage tonight at 8 PM with opener Joy Ike. Click here for tickets and information

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Cody ChesnuTT teams up with Gary Clark, Jr on “Gunpowder On The Letter”

Cody ChesnuTT photo by Bohbot
Cody ChesnuTT photo by Bohbot
Sometimes unlikely combinations on paper make for good bedfellows in the studio. Such is the case with Cody ChesnuTT who collaborated with Gary Clark, Jr. on “Gunpowder On The Letter,” from ChesnuTT’s new Landing on A Hundred: B-Sides and Remixes. In addition to Gary Clark, Jr., ChesnuTT invited Questlove of The Roots, Danny Swain, Jay West and Manuel Sahagun to remix several songs from ChesnuTT’s original Landing On A Hundred studio album. Below, download “Gunpodwer On The Letter.” Clark and ChesnuTT play off each other well, trading verses and guitar solos on the rollicking, driving, clap along song.

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Support for My Morning Download, from Flying Fish Brewing Company
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Photos: Cody ChesnuTT gets funky with the World Cafe Live crowd

Cody ChesnuTT | Photo by Matthew Shaver | www.mattshaverphoto.com
Cody ChesnuTT | Photo by Matthew Shaver | www.mattshaverphoto.com

All photos by Matthew Shaver | www.mattshaverphoto.com

Funky, eclectic and unpredictable, Atlanta-based singer Cody ChesnuTT headlined World Cafe Live on Saturday with a show that culminated in the energetic performer diving offstage and dancing with the crowd. (That must explain why he’s always got a helmet on.) ChesnuTT is on tour in support of his latest LP, 2012′s Landing on a Hundred. Check out scenes from the night in the photo gallery below.

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Tonight’s Concert Picks: Tin Bird Choir at Steel City, Cody ChesnuTT at World Cafe Live, Curly Castro / Dice Raw / Truck North at The Fire

Tin Bird Choir

Locals Tin Bird Choir bring their soulful folk sound to Steel City Coffeehouse in Phoenixville tonight. It’s a CD release show for the self-proclaimed “barn rock” outfit, whose new record is titled Homesteady. Check them out performing at 30th Street Station a few weeks ago for XPN’s Lunchtime Buskers series. You can find tickets and information here.

Tin Bird Choir busking at The Porch at 30th Street Station from WXPN FM on Vimeo.

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My Morning Download: “Under The Spell of The Handout” by Cody Chesnutt (from a limited time only collection of World Cafe downloads)

R&B singer Cody Chesnutt recently visted World Cafe with David Dye and played songs from his new album, Landing On A Hundred. You can listen to the session here. Below, download a gorgeous, soulful solo piano version of “Under The Spell Of The Handout.” This month only, World Cafe is offering free downloads of performances from bands including Calexico, Lord Huron, Alt-J, John Fullbright, Freelance Whales, Allen Stone, The Kopecky Family Band and others. You can download all the songs here.

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Support for My Morning Download, from Flying Fish Brewing Company
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My Morning Download: “That’s Still Mama” by Cody ChesnuTT

Photo by John Ferguson

Atlanta R&B musician Cody ChesnuTT is releasing a new Kickstarter-funded album Landing on a Hundred in October. It is ChesnuTT’s first new full-length record since his 2002 debut, The Headphone Masterpiece. ChesnuTT rose to fame when a song from The Headphone Masterpiece, “The Seed,” was recorded as “The Seed 2.0” for the Roots’ Phrenology, exposing Cody’s music to a wider audience. Recorded with a ten piece band at Royal Studios in Memphis (the recording home of Willie Mitchell and Hi Records musicians including Al Green, Buddy Guy, Ike & Tina Turner), download “That’s Still Mama” from the forthcoming album below. For more information about ChesnuTT’s Kickstarter release go here.

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Support for My Morning Download, from Flying Fish Brewing Company