On Christmas day Vic Chestnutt was gone, dead at 45 from an overdose of muscle relaxants. The Constellation Records website has published an announcement: ‘Surrounded by family and friends, Vic Chesnutt died in Athens Georgia this afternoon, Friday 25 December at 14:59. In the few short years that we knew him personally, Vic transformed our sense of what true character, grace and determination are all about. Our grief is inexpressible and Vic’s absence unfathomable’… Don & Ian Constellation
Vic Chesnutt has released over a dozen albums since the early 90s, and has been one of our favorite singer songwriters/ musicians. collaborating with everyone from Michael Stipe, Lambchop, and Elf Power to Widespread Panic, Van Dyke Parks, and A Silver Mount Zion. The 1996 tribute album Sweet Relief II featured covers of Chesnutt songs by Madonna, Smashing Pumpkins, Garbage, Sparklehorse, Indigo Girls, and more. Chesnutt has been in a wheelchair since the age of 18, when he was in a car accident. From his friends: “The most important story to report now is not Vic’s death but a life and work overflowing with insight, humor, and yes, resilience. This, after all, was the man who wrote: “I thought I had a calling, anyway, I just kept dialing.” Sixteen extraordinary albums, five in the last couple of years; countless live shows so powerful and sublime they deeply altered the lives of those on the stage with Vic and those looking up, yes up, at him. The second most important story here has to do with a broken health care system depriving so many of the help they need to stay around and stay sane, and a society that never balks at providing more money for more wars but fights tooth and nail against decent care for its citizens. Vic’s death, just so you all know, did not come at the end of some cliché downward spiral. He was battling deep depression but also at the peak of his powers, and with the help of friends and family he was in the middle of a desperate search for help. The system failed to provide it. I miss him terribly. “ Jem Cohen (Filmaker)
I flew around a little room once. A line from Supernatural. He was just that. He possessed an unearthly energy and yet was humanistic with the common man in mind. He was entirely present and entirely somewhere else. A mystical somewhere else. A child and an old guy as he called himselfBefore he made an album he said he was a bum. Now he is in flight bumming round beyond the little room. With his angel voice. (Patti Smith)
Musician Kristin Hersh has set up a donation website on behalf of the Chesnutt family in tribute to the artist. 100% of all funds go directly to his family. Please donate.
Got to listen to this incredible song of his, Philip_Guston