Monday, November 22, 2010

Kin: Aunt Avis

Vic Chesnutt: Aunt Avis


Widespread panic w/ Vic Chesnutt: Aunt Avis


Left a paraplegic after a car accident in his teens, celebrated but never-famous singer-songwriter and collaborator Vic Chesnutt struggled with depression up until Christmas of last year, when he passed at the age of 45 due to complications following an overdose.

In the year since, I've delved much deeper into his work, and though his stark realism sticks to the soul if you let it, it's well worth the trip to hell and back.

Take Aunt Avis, for example, a plea to Vic's ancestors to save him from himself. The original is shaky and sparse, the jamband version with Widespread Panic eerier and dark. But both bear the self-depreciating humor and cynical grit which made Chesnutt a darling of the post-grunge underground. And the suicide-note lyrics? The plaintive cry of the vocal? Aunt Avis is dead, and so is her nephew: whether that makes the song that much more prescient, or merely a promise fulfilled, is a question best left open to discussion.

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