The first, 2002's "The Headphone Masterpiece," consists of 36 tracks split across two discs and lasts more than two hours. Changes in ChesnuTT's life in the decade between the releases of the two albums likely led to the differences. He started a family, moved to Florida and apparently spent a lot of time studying the classic soul sounds of the '60s and '70s he has always drawn influence from.
The first album was recorded by ChesnuTT alone in his Los Angeles apartment, while the second was recorded at Royal Studios in Memphis, Tenn., where Chuck Berry, Tina Turner and Al Green all made music. It is still unmistakably ChesnuTT, but more focused, more intentional and more developed.
While both albums certainly include allusions to vintage soul, the second album features ChesnuTT's rich falsetto channeling those that came before him, paying tribute as opposed to trying to stand out. And, in doing so, he does stand out and establishes himself as a troubadour with raw talent who makes naturally bold and strong music when so many musicians do not.
All photos by Bryan Sutter