Friday, December 25, 2009

Vic Chesnutt 1964 - 2009


He was an amazing musician and tremendous inspiration in my life from Little onward. I recall a moment in 1990, walking around the University District in Seattle listening to a cassette of that first album. "I'm not a victim, I am an atheist!" stopped me in my tracks. I was standing by Cafe Allegro looking toward the wooded campus. I can see the quality of light that Seattle is renowned for shifting slightly.
Other albums marked different cities, other eras in my life. I saw him once at Noe Valley Ministry in San Francisco. It was a sublime concert in a perfect setting, even if he seemed not very well even then, a dozen years ago. Yet, he always grew & changed yet remained his own soft, soft Picasso; a masterpiece in a broken frame.
I'll miss his sound in the new airwaves.
He died worrying about medical debts and losing his home. On the radio program Fresh Air with Terry Gross just last week he spoke eloquently of his financial and medical problems related to the shabby state of healthcare in America. He died a soldier in that war. There was blood in his last cuts seeping out of old bandages.
Artists are too sensitive. They are the first to go and the last to be forgotten.

So view the Modern Man looking like a soft soft Picasso,

he's there with his head in his hand repeating to himself an epigram,

"Live by the scam, die by the scam."

Vic Chesnutt, 1990

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