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Saturday, December 26, 2009

Cult American Singer-Songwriter Vic Chestnutt Dead

Vic Chesnutt (November 12, 1964 – December 25, 2009) was a cult indie singer-songwriter, living in Athens, GA. He was rendered paraplegic in a 1983 car accident, but managed to keep making music. Michael Stipe discovered him playing in Athens and quickly produced his first two albums Little (1990) and West of Rome (1991). Chesnutt collaborated with a host of indie talents, ranging from Lambchop and Widespread Panic, to Thee Silver Mt Zion, Godspeed YOu Black Emperor, Cowboy Junkies, Fugazi’s Guy Picciotto, Throwing Muses' Kristen Hersh, and guitarist Bill Frissell. Chesnutt, was known for his weathered, often un-melodic and narrative vocal style, poetic lyrics and lack of rhyme and meter. During his recovery from the car accident he read a great deal of American classic poetry, such as Wallace Stevens and Emily Dickinson, which he claimed inspired a lot of his later songwriting. A documentary video of Chesnutt's life called Speed Racer was produced and directed by Peter Sillen in 1991, and aired on the PBS channel in the U.S. Last fall, Chesnutt spoke about the atrocity of American healthcare, noting that he had $70,000 in medical bills that he couldn't pay, and still he could die any day, unable to get further necessary operations and other care. His feelings about living on that edge, ever suicidal, are immortalized in songs like "Flirted With You [Death] All My Life" (see below). Chesnutt died from a painkiller overdose on friday, Christmas Day. On Twitter, his friend and frequent collaborator Kristin Hersh claimed the death was a suicide.
This is probably my favorite song by him. Thanks, Vic.

And here is "Flirted With You All My Life"

1 comment:

steckarrr said...

I had had very superficial exposure to Vic Chestnutt through the Sweet Relief album that was released for him, but I will seek out his music in memory. Thanks for posting this.

Formerly "Parisnormale: Paris Rocks"