It's tempting to say, "Everyone in Athens knew Vic Chesnutt," but of course, it's not exactly true. I met him once when I was a student at the University of Georgia. Some friends and I went to see him play at the 40 Watt Club, and after the show, I did something I rarely do: I walked over to say hello. He was gracious and I was brief, and there's no great tale to relate. Rather, it was an ordinary interaction for him in a town where he was well known.
Vic Chesnutt died Christmas Day, and on this day at Talk of the Nation when we're remembering those lost over the year in our first hour, it seems appropriate to share musician Patti Smith's words on Chesnutt. She joins us in our second hour. From R.E.M. HQ:
"I flew around a little room once." A line from Supernatural. He was just that. He possessed an unearthly energy and yet was humanistic with the common man in mind. He was entirely present and entirely somewhere else. A mystical somewhere else. A child and an old guy as he called himself. Before he made an album he said he was a bum. Now he is in flight bumming round beyond the little room. With his angel voice.