Singer/Songwriter Spotlight Series, Vol. III: In Memory of Vic Chesnutt, 1964 – 2009

Vic Chesnutt: RIP (1964 – 2009) photo by Eric Lawson

In an on-going playlist series featuring fantastic singer and songwriters, we are honoring the memory of the great Athens, Georgia singer-songwriter, Vic Chesnutt, who passed away on two weeks ago on Christmas after lapsing into coma following a rumored suicide from an overdose of muscle relaxants.

Chesnutt was well known for his witty, dark songs and collaborations with members of various alternative and indie bands, such as Elf Power, Fugazi, Godspeed!, You Black Emperor, Silver Mt. Zion Orchestra,Widespread Panic, Cracker, Lambchop, Throwing Muses and M. Ward, to name just a few. Fellow Athens, Georgia resident and long-time friend, REM’s Michael Stipe, produced Chesnutt’s first two LPs.

In 1996, Chesnutt received national prominence after an album (Sweet Relief) of his songs were covered by Smashing Pumpkins, Madonna, REM and Garbage. Chesnutt was paralyzed at age 18 in a car accident, and he has required constant medical care ever since. Earlier last year, he told Spinner that he was terrified by the fact that he was being sued by the Athens Regional Medical Center in Georgia for up to $50,000 – even though he had health insurance. “Right now,” Chesnutt said, “I am in huge trouble in that the hospital is suing me for $35,000 for payment, which is terrifying – and the rub is that I have health insurance.”

In September, Chesnutt released the critically acclaimed LP, At The Cut, and was touring to sold out crowds. In honor of the prolific Chesnutt, here are a pair of songs from his own website – one from At the Cut, and another from his 2007 classic LP, North Star Deserter, and a couple of videos. The irony of the first song in this mix is heart-wrenching. Rest in Peace, Vic; we’ll miss you.

“Flirted With You All My Life” Vic Chesnutt from At the Cut (2009)

“You Are Never Alone”Vic Chesnutt from North Star Deserter (2007)

Download a free six-song sampler from Vic’s official website.

Vic Chesnutt on MySpace

Michael Stipe, Patti Smith and others talk about the passing of their friend.

See other posts in IRC’s Singer and Songwriter series.

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