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Thursday, April 5, 2012

west of rome

Hello, Toads! This week I present you with an exceptionally magical prompt. I know I'm prone to hyperbole and I've told you about many of my favorite artists and songs already, but Vic Chesnutt is a very special favorite. His songs are like no other's, his music soaring on some other plane, his words poetry. I have long adored his work, and I still mourn his untimely passing on Christmas Day in 2009.

Vic Chesnutt was from Athens, Georgia. The story goes that Michael Stipe (of R.E.M.) discovered him in Athens and produced his first two albums, Little (1990) and West of Rome (1991). Vic Chesnutt released fifteen more spectacularly beautiful albums in his too-short career. This description of his music (from Wikipedia, attributed to Bryan Carroll of allmusic.com) is apt: "[Vic Chesnutt's style is] a skewed, refracted version of Americana that is haunting, funny, poignant, and occasionally mystical, usually all at once."

I encourage you to follow the links I'm providing to learn more about this amazingly perceptive and inspiring artist. Vic Chesnutt directly inspired one of my poems, and others less obviously. The song I'm posting for inspiration is a tremendous and heart-wrenching performance of "Granny," recorded only weeks before his death. 




If you are inspired, another great performance is this one of "Flirted With You All My Life," a song about which Vic Chesnutt said to Terry Gross (on NPR's Fresh Air), "[y]ou know, I've attempted suicide three or four times. It didn't take." Tragically for those who loved him, he left us very soon after that interview.

Finally, if you get CRAZY inspired (and I hope you will!), Vic Chesnutt's Tiny Desk Concert (another NPR production) is wonderful. It's a commitment at about half an hour long, but it's a mesmerizing thirty minutes, in my book.

I look forward to your inspired writing, and to my own. Thank you, Toads. Friends. 

23 comments:

Sherry Blue Sky said...

Wow. Now that is a man who has known pain. He comes straight from the heart. So sad he left too soon. Thanks for this, Marian.

Marian said...

i was lucky enough to see him live once, in the late 90's. I LOVE HIM.

Susie Clevenger said...

Thanks Marian for introducing me to this wonderful man and talent. So heartbreaking he is gone.

Kerry O'Connor said...

Well, this song was a sure heartbreaker!
What an inspiring artist (so glad Michael Stipe invested in his career), willing to share his message and world view through song.

Kim Nelson said...

Sometimes the poem is just sitting in the attic, waiting for a prompt or friend or fear to open the door and set it free.

Lolamouse said...

Thank you for the intro! Michael Stipe can usually be counted upon for having good taste in musicians! I'm going away for the weekend but will definitely come back to this one!

Kerry O'Connor said...

Well, this was incredibly painful to write - so thanks for that Marian. Kim is right. Sometimes poems remain dormant waiting to be written, though we may prefer not to.

Ella said...

This was extremely painful to write.
I had to put a warning on mine. I'm doing a A-Z challenge(the theme is fun)...I thought about doing folklore poem(Kerry's) but this one came fast n' furious. I had to go with that. Besides, they are warned...if they don't want to read it...they don't have to. Life is life, not all fun n' games!

Ella said...

I did want to add what a remarkable talent he was! Thank you Marian for sharing this with us~

Daydreamertoo said...

Very tragic but very talented man. What sad songs. You can tell right away he could 'read' people.
Great prompt, thank you.

Sherry Blue Sky said...

This prompt has brought forth some incredibly heartfelt and wonderful poems that come from the painful places. Vic's song is still breaking hearts, even though he has gone on ahead. Marian, thank you.

Marian said...

i am so pleased that you all like this prompt and are enjoying and/or being inspired by Vic Chesnutt. so pleased.
i'm at work now but will be around a bit later to read everyone's work.
xoxox

Mary said...

Thanks, Marian. His poem triggered memories of my grandma, what few I have.

Laurie Kolp said...

You're introducing us to some wonderful musicians, Marian. Thank you!!

Marian said...

i'm overwhelmed by all these incredible tributes. hope vic chesnutt is lording over RT and chucking at our grannies and inspirations :)

Marian said...

chuckling!! not throwing things at our grannies! *giggle*

EJ said...

Thank you, Marian, for introducing us to Vic! After watching the video you linked to, and then a bunch more of Vic's videos, like "Worst Friend In The World" (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l-Ruxo1Nw4g) it inspired me to write a song for my friend Jen. I did this in one take so don't laugh (too hard)! :)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Wrd6R6kgWUE

Kerry O'Connor said...

Thanks for sharing your video with us, EJ! I think Vic would have approved of your humour.

Mary Mansfield said...

Thanks so much for sharing Vic's work with us, Marian! This song actually inspired something very sweet and not dark at all from me (for once anyway!)

Marian said...

well, yay for Vic Chesnutt! and i'm thrilled that this inspired songwriting from Elizabeth, as well. funny but true, just how Vic writes 'em.

Margaret said...

Wish I could participate, but I am busy with Easter weekend. I will be enjoying this prompt, however, by reading everyones responses.

Margaret said...

I googled Vic Chesnutt ... what a journey he had during his life... drinking and driving is so so not worth it. I wish Vic had had a happier ending, poor man. But he didn't leave without inspiring many.

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