January 05, 2010

AGED OUT OF INNOCENCE

I woke up thinking about Vic Chesnutt being dead, about how I wish there were more interviews with him about this record, his last, which is so graced and valuable. More evidence, a thicker tether, understanding worthy of what he left.

The first time I saw Vic Chesnutt, I was probably 17 or close to that. I was curious, and I knew who he was and he was opening for someone else I wanted to see--Bob Mould or Lemonheads or someone southern. But once I saw him, I didn't want to see him. I knew how he wound up in that wheelchair. I did stupid, fate tempting shit like ride around in cars with wasted kids. I didn't want to see him because I didn't like my music that vulnerable and at 17. I wasn't interested in reminders of my mortality; I was too busy feeling infinite.
Sometimes you don't wanna be a witness.

I came back at some point, but the last two records made me scared again. As much as I rally for honest music, and want so much of what makes up the last two, they were flush with reminders of truths I often take pains to ignore: people you love will die and you will go on living, sometimes suffering is boundless, we don't control all this stuff we think we do, our time is tentative, don't forget.

All the big stuff coming through over swells and strums, all the real news delivered in that croaky kind of croon, forcing us to witness. He roped you in, whether you wanted in or not. It is, was, important work and I am sad there will not be more.

Posted by jessica hopper at January 5, 2010 09:49 AM | TrackBack