National Obituary Review

Dead Person of the day – November 20 – Chris Whitley

0 Comments 20 November 2012


We’ve got what might be called a ‘lost classic’ on our hands today. Chris Whitley.

In the early 1990’s Rolling Stone magazine praised Whitley as “a visionary … a bona-fide poet” and director Ridley Scott featured an album track in his movie Thelma and Louise. He parlayed that into a record contract with Columbia. Things were on the up and up. Originally tagged as a ‘blues man’ thats what Columbia signed up for. But in his second album of the contract Whitley went more hard rock and alienated a good portion of his early fan base. A move that eventually ended with Columbia dropping him.

He was quickly picked up by a smaller, independent label that let him record his next record – Dirt Floor – in a log cabin in Vermont. He recorded the full album in one day and it outsold his previous Columbia release.

He had his biggest following in Germany where he recorded several more albums and began to dabble in creating film scores.

Chris Whitley fun fact: In 1993 he was deported from New Zealand after having been found, on arrival, to have a sizeable quantity of marijuana stuffed down his boots.

Go light on these obits…you don’t want to ruin your appetite for Thanksgiving.

Chris Whitley: Eclectic bluesman described as a visionary, bona-fide poet
Garth Cartwright, The Guardian Dec. 2, 2005

The concerts of Chris Whitley, who has died of lung cancer aged 45, were memorable affairs, with the emaciated musician building up force fields of sound on guitar and dobro. The Texan singer-songwriter gave 1990s blues-rock an eerie, ambient flavour. Continue

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