Brute -- the engaging combination of singer/songwriter Vic Chesnutt and renowned jam band Widespread Panic -- has finalized release plans for its sophomore album, "Co-Balt." Due April 9 on the Widespr

Brute -- the engaging combination of singer/songwriter Vic Chesnutt and renowned jam band Widespread Panic -- has finalized release plans for its sophomore album, "Co-Balt." Due April 9 on the Widespread Records label, the 11-song set is the long-awaited follow-up to the Athens, Ga.-pairing's 1995 debut, "Nine High a Pallet."

Produced by John Keane (who also contributes backing vocals, as well as guitar and pedal steel work to the set), the bulk of "Co-Balt" was recorded over just three days in January 2001. As on the first Brute album, Chesnutt provided material from his ever-flowing "trunk of songs" for the collective to jam on, rather than sitting down to write new Brute-specific songs.

"I'm really excited about this record," Chesnutt told Billboard.com last year. "It's really kind of a pop/rock [pauses to search for the perfect word]... phenomenon. It's really gonna be funny. I picked really good songs to play with Panic, songs that clicked really well with them."

"The idea ... was to be spontaneous, not get bogged down in the studio madness," Panic/Brute guitarist Michael Houser said in a statement. "Everyone just had to follow their instincts," Keane added, "which lent a kind of energy and freshness to the recording."

Once the basic tracks were down, Chesnutt recorded his vocals several months later. "As Vic began to record his vocals and I heard the completed lyrics for the first time," Keane said, "I realized that this record had by far exceeded my expectations." Panic/Brute bassist Dave Schools added, "Vic has a scholarly sense of humor that stays low-brow, but it's learned. He should be the poet-laureate of the New South."

There are tentative plans for some live Brute dates around the release of the album, but details are not yet worked out, according to a spokesperson. It's not likely that there will be a full-scale tour.

Originally released by the now defunct Capricorn label, "Nine High a Pallet" was re-released last October by Velocette Records. The new, enhanced version of the album features new artwork, as well as videos for the songs "Westport Ferry" and "Mr. Hard On."

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