“Vic Chesnutt, a singer-songwriter whose music dealt with mortality and black humor, died on Friday in a hospital in Athens, Ga.,” begins a sad obituary in New York Times’ Arts Beat.
Chesnutt, who was 45, lived in Athens but often performed in Asheville: He was at The Grey Eagle this past September. (In a Tweet, @ART_Asheville enthused, “#art #avl Vic Chesnutt, tiny mtns (local), & Pilgrim (local) at The Grey Eagle 9/10/09: Not to be miss…http://buzzup.com/habf”)
Here, in a YouTube video posted by holycowdude, Chesnutt performs “Where Were You” at the Grey Eagle:
Chesnutt spoke to Xpress via email in this 2003 interview.
According to reports, Chesnutt died on Christmas day while surrounded by his family. “The acclaimed singer-songwriter had been in a coma since earlier in the week. Some reports have said Chesnutt attempted suicide before the coma, but the cause of death has not been announced,” said EW.com; other reports claim the musician succumbed to an overdose of muscle relaxers. He had been wheelchair bound since an accident, at age 18, left him a quadriplegic. Chesnutt has claimed in interviews that the injuries cause depression and drug and alcohol addiction, but that being wheelchair bound also helped him to realize his voice.
This year was especially bountiful for the prolific musician: He recorded two albums including, most recently, At The Cut. He spoke to NPR’s Terry Gross earlier this month. Listen to the interview here.
—Alli Marshall, A&E reporter