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Location: Lafayette, Indiana, United States

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Like the feather we blow away.


Sometimes something just hits you out of left field, someone you haven't really had in mind for some time suddenly gets shoved into your consciousness. Quite a bit of a shock this morning to find that Chris Whitley had died, apparently of lung cancer. Back in 1991, I was a sophomore at IU- just recently working at a college radio station and discovering new music. Until then, I was listening to the Beatles, Led Zeppelin, and Tom Petty. Great music, admittedly- but not the most diverse fare.

Now for the life of me, I can't remember how I first discovered Chris Whitley- it was either from listening to WTTS or maybe the video getting airplay on MTV. Needless to say, after hearing the title track for the first time, I was sold. I bought Living With The Law the same day on Kirkwood and had the album in steady rotation for months to come. Moody, evocative, gritty, lonely- these songs definitely grew from repeated listenings. "Make The Dirt Stick," "Big Sky Country," "Phone Call From Leavenworth," songs that hit me so hard and deeply so long ago that even now just thinking about them has the same sort of effect.

And then I lost track of Chris Whitley. I saw him at Deer Creek opening for Tom Petty, and the sound was so bad that it ruined the performance for me. Din Of Noise was the follow-up, I heard one song and was unimpressed. And in the 10+ years that have passed since then, I from time to time have thought to myself I should check in again and see what he's up to. And now he's gone. A troubled life, to be sure- including alcohol and heroin abuse. It's hard to find a picture where he doesn't look forlorn and fragile. Hopefully he's found some sort of peace.

Words from Trixie Whitley:
My father took his last breath last night the 20th of November. I would like to make it clear that the people he needed and loved the most were with him while and when he left in peace. Those were Dan, Susanne, me and Chorinne. I would also like to ask you guys to understand there is a very fine line between Chris Whitley the legendary musician and Chris Whitley the Father, Brother, and Lover.

This was my Dad's favorite line from the first song I ever wrote, this is for you Daddy:

"Like the feather we blow away, in the thoughtlessness of words others say."

All faith and peace,
Trixie Whitley

2 Comments:

Blogger Benoit Lapierre said...

Hi from canada,
keep on going, your blog is very interesting!

11:09 AM  
Blogger JT said...

Fitting tribute, spaceman. He will be missed.

4:59 AM  

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