Don't Suck, Don't Die
Kirstin Hersh's Memoir of Vic Chesnutt
"what he left here was the sound of a life that pushed against its constraints, as all lives should"
This is from Kristin Hersh's short eulogy to Vic Chesnutt included near the end of "Don't Suck, Don't Die: Giving Up Vic Chesnutt", which I just finished with tears in my eyes - the good, cathartic kind.
Though Hersh does convey a great deal about Vic's life and divine music, the book is just as much about their relationship and the truth and lies of musicians compelled to do what they do despite often deeply desiring release from the compulsion. For my money, Chesnutt was as good a songwriter as ever lived, and a fantastic performer, which is astounding given that his entire creative life was spent in a wheelchair wielding a guitar he could at most use two fingers on his right hand to play.
Listen to his music - this is the guy R.E.M. chose to play "Everybody Hurts" at the 2009 Carnegie Hall celebration of their opulent indie-ness. Stipe and the boys channeled every emotion we could feel... Vic Chesnutt felt them all and called bullshit on the romancing of those stones.