“Vic was our Keats, our Nina Simone. There will never be another like him.” – Guy Picciotto
Vic Chesnutt passed away on Christmas day. He left behind sixteen albums of heartfelt, mischievous, thoughtful, poetic and cantankerous songs (frequently all at the same time). I saw him live just once, on the European leg of the Is The Actor Happy tour, and although I’d only heard two of his albums at that stage it was a truly great show. It was the only time I ever saw a performer deal with the chatty Whelan’s crowd directly and successfully – ‘If you want to talk, f*ck off back to the bar. If you want to listen to the music, shut up.’ There should be more of this kind of thing. About two-thirds of the way through the show, Vic asked if anyone would roll him a joint. Someone at the front obliged, passed it up to the stage and we waited while the band passed it around. Happy (pre smoking ban) days.
Apart from that fairly dull anecdote, I don’t have anything to add to the tributes that his friends and collaborators have posted elsewhere (see below) than to say so long Vic, and thanks for all the wonderful music. Hopefully you’ve found peace. You will be missed.
Vic Chesnutt: A tragedy foretold in song [Guardian blog]
More of Vic’s music [HypeMachine.com search]
*from Free of Hope – “Free of hope / Free of the past / Thank you God of nothing I’m free at last”