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About 9 years ago I literally stumbled across a record by a Texas song writer named Chris Whitley called “ Perfect Day”.( by stumbled I mean I was reaching for a disc, this one got stuck the back of it, I fell and almost tripped my into the arms of a security guard who was convinced I was trying to steal it, so I figured I had no choice but to purchase said disc.) Lucky for me it was a little bit of a revelation. It ended up being a record of covers of songs by the likes of Bob Dylan, Lou Reed, and a slew of other really important song writers that I hadn’t yet had the mature mind to get into. It’s a trio record with Chris Wood and Billy Martin of Medeski, Martin and Wood fame, and before the jam band haters write this post off, know that these boys provide some of the most sensitive yet interesting back drop I’ve ever heard on a song writer record. Period. So there.
Anyway, I subsequently started to check out more of Whitey’s stuff and found it all to be really interesting a really eclectic. From the straight up one mic sounds of Dirt floor to the hyper produced electric rocket house, this guy was doing it all, exciting stuff for a nubile mind like my own. Then, he sadly passed of lung cancer in November of 2005. A sad time for many including a major proponent in Whitley’s too short career, Daniel Lanois who in very poetic DL fashion said
“Chris Whitley, my friend since 1988. The deep soul he was gifted with is the soul that challenged his life journey. I will forever remember his beauty.”
Hell, even the pop star that everyone loves to hate or love, John Mayer, loved his work -
“[When] Chris Whitley died…with him went a big part of modern American blues music. There aren’t many fighters for the cause, and Chris never gave up on his mission. His somewhat prostrated place in pop culture earned him a sidebar of an obituary, but to those who knew his work, it registers as one of the most underappreciated losses in all of music.
High praise indeed I’d say. Besides what Chris accomplished as a fantastic and unique voice in the canon of American song writing, he also accomplished the as impressive task of having a daughter named Trixie, a great musician in her own right. Lo and be hold, it’s 2010, and Trixie, Lanois, Brian Blade, and Daryl Johnson have a great project called Black Dub on the go. Apparently a record is being recorded, but for now we’ll have to settle with these really we shot videos.
Check out Chris and his family, and I hope you enjoy……..