Tributes to Vic

Musical Tributes



In May 2010, Cowboy Junkies announced the release of their tribute album dedicated to Vic Chesnutt, Demons, to feature a wide selection of Chesnutt songs from his vast catalogue. Read more about this here


Sweet Relief 2: Gravity Of The Situation was released in 1996 and featured a veritable selection of talented artists, including Smashing Pumpkins, Red Red Meat, Sparklehorse, Kristin Hersh, Madonna, Nanci Griffith, Garbage, Lucinda Williams, Cracker, Soul Asylum, Indigo Girls and R.E.M.
An early tribute, the album features covers mainly from Drunk, West of Rome and Is the actor Happy?

Personal Tributes

When Vic died on Christmas day of 2009, many people posted tributes, some of which are posted below. You can read more tributes that were posted at the time here

From Michael Stipe:

“We have lost one of our great ones.”

--Michael Stipe

From Constellation Records:

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 and Ian, Constellation Records

From Patti Smith:

“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 himself.
Before 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 dec 25 2009

From Kristin Hersh:

What this man was capable of was superhuman. Vic was brilliant, hilarious and necessary;
his songs messages from the ether, uncensored. He developed a guitar style that allowed
him to play bass, rhythm and lead in the same song – this with the movement of only two fingers.
His fluid timing was inimitable, his poetry untainted by influences.
He was my best friend.

--Kristin Hersh dec 25 2009

From Jeff Mangum:

"In 1991 i moved to athens georgia in search of god, but what I discovered instead was Vic Chesnutt.
Hearing his music completely transformed the way I thought about writing songs, and I will forever be in his debt."

--Jeff Mangum, neutral milk hotel

From Jem Cohen:

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: Filmmaker / North Star Deserter producer

From Mark McElhattan:

Years ago upon discovery, West of Rome consoled me when I was going under. A life saver with the straight story.
I followed since then from a distance. Vic was a unique being, mind, voice.
No one spoke or made music like that, with that particular timbre, vocabulary and perception.
Fierce and direct or levitated, whimsical and ornamental, he always cut to the bone.
And past that, to the soul. Its a shame. A national tragedy, when you look at the issues being faced.

--Mark McElhattan / Film curator, New York Film Festival

From Andrew Rieger:

We love you and miss you so much Vic was so amazing to know you
and record an album with you and tour all over the world with you are the greatest songwriter and singer to ever come out of athens and it was an honor to play with you
..I love these lyrics of Vic's about water (this is from memory so it may be a little off)
......."The same water that the dinosaurs drank the same water that the Persian fleets sank in
.......The same water that moistened the primordial ooze now hammering on my metal porch roof"

--Andrew Rieger, Elf Power

From Michael Deibert:

I remember helping Vic Chesnutt offstage in his wheelchair in Galway, Ireland
after a solo concert he gave there about 15 years ago.
A songwriter of rare power and intelligence, he was one my musical touchstones in my late teens and early twenties,
along with such artists as the Clash, Bob Marley, Peter Tosh and Johnny Cash.
Vic Chesnutt passed away, far too early for those of us who appreciated his music, over Christmas weekend.

Thank you, Vic, for all that great music and that very special night in Galway all those years ago.

--Michael Deibert, Journalist and Author, 27th December 2009