Friday, December 25, 2009

RIP, Vic Chesnutt

The news, which hasn't been widely reported, but I believe to be true (mainly because of fellow badass and friend Kristin Hersh's tweets) sucks. It seems that Vic Chesnutt committed suicide on Christmas Eve day, being found in a coma and never revived.

I don't know what to say about this, except to say how much it sucks.

Vic Chesnutt was one of the finest songwriters this country has produced in the last 20 years, and while it is not completely shocking that he would commit suicide*, it bothers me greatly that he did go out that way. But I'd rather not focus on that. I'd rather talk about how great and personable he was in concert. I shook his hand at the 400 Bar, after a great show he played with members of the Jayhawks. I'd like to follow Kristen Hersch's lead, and ask everyone to keep tuned to see what they can do to help support Tina Chesnutt.

And mainly, I'd just like to remember some of the great songs he wrote. Vic was an acquired taste, vocally, but once you bought in, and heard him, he was without a doubt one of the most honest, interesting and complex songwriters out there. If his songs were not so searingly personal, he could have made a mint selling them off to other artists. But they were so clearly his songs that covering him seemed a waste of time.

Some of my favorites:

Naughty Fatalist
When I Ran Off and Left Her
Gravity of the Situation
Danny Carlisle
Lucinda Williams
Soft Picasso

And here he is, on the short-lived Craig Kilborn show, doing Band Camp. Rest in Peace, Vic.

*for one example, see his lyrics for "Florida":
a man must take his life in his own hands
hit those nails on the head
and i respect a man who goes to where he wants to be
even if he wants to be dead

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