The internet tells me that singer-songwriter Vic Chesnutt is in a coma dead, and some have suggested the cause was an overdose of pain killers. In this recent interview with Terry Gross, Vic talked at some length about his suicide attempts, both before and after the car accident that left him a quadriplegic. You may be interested to hear his thoughts about the health care reform debates, especially since he’s $50,000+ in debt from costs associated with his care. Both as a person with serious health care needs, and as an artist, he presents a compelling argument for dramatic reform.
I’ve followed his music a little over the years (he’s released 15 albums/EPs since 1988, the first two of which were produced by Michael Stipe). I do think I’d enjoy a cover album of Chesnutt songs more than his versions, which I’m a little embarrassed to admit. I find his voice a little grating and often wish the songs were arranged a little differently–faster, softer, more stripped down, etc. (And if you feel the same way, and care about artists without sufficient health insurance, you can buy this CD: Sweet Relief II: Gravity of the Situation, The Songs of Vic Chesnutt, proceeds from which support the cause.) He’s a seriously talented songwriter, an American original, and I hope things work out as he would like.