Thursday, November 24, 2005

Died too early

I find it never pays to read the obituaries page. Really, if you think about it, the obits page very rarely delivers good news (but there are exections).

But today is not one of those rare exceptions. I see today that Chris Whitley died at age 45 of lung cancer.

And this is a great pity. His debut album is certainly one of the best albums of the 1990s, but it got almost no attention in the public.

The music is wild, spooky, breathtaking and completely absorbing. It is at once intimate and huge. It's like driving across Utah on a bright, hot, sunlit day. It's hypnotic.

Of course, his later stuff was a little, well, offputting to put it politely. But the guy kept trying new things and wasn't afraid to put off his audience. He wasn't afraid to offend people. It probably cost him the public acclaim he deserved, but it marked him as a real rock hero, true to its spirit until the last.

You won't regret picking up a copy of Living with the Law. Give it a listen and you will see why I am sorry I ever opened to the obits this morning.

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