The legendary Canadian alt-country band Cowboy Junkies will release a collection of Vic Chesnutt songs as their next album Demons, a tribute to the American singer songwriter who died on Christmas Day 2009.
Chesnutt was left partially paralysed from a car accident in 1983 when he was only eighteen years old and was left in a wheelchair with limited use of his hands, although he could manage to play simple chords.
He played alongside Todd McBride in the band La Di Das during the mid eighties before going solo performing regularly at the 40 Watt Club, where he was spotted by Michael Stipe.
Stipe, who became a great personal friend of Chesnutt, produced the singers first two albums Little in 1990 and West of Rome in 1991.
It was in 1996 however that Vic Chesnutt’s music reached a wider audience with the release of a tribute album Sweet Relief II: Gravity of the Situation, the proceeds from which went to the Sweet Relief Fund.
The album consisted of Chesnutt covers by famous musicians including Cracker, Garbage, The Smashing Pumpkins (with Red Red Meat), Madonna, R.E.M., Soul Asylum, and Live.
Chesnutt himself collaborated with the likes of Guy Picciotto of Fugazi, Thee Silver Mt. Zion Memorial Orchestra, members of Godspeed You! Black Emperor, Elf Power and Lambchop during his career and last year he sang on the Danger Mouse / Sparklehorse / David Lynch collaboration ‘Grim Augury’.
Chesnutt died on Christmas Day 2009 from an overdose of muscle relaxants that had left him in a coma in hospital in Athens, Georgia.
The tie with Cowboy Junkies goes back to 2007 when Chesnutt worked with the band on their album Trinity Revisited.
Demons is described by Michael Timmins as “a labour of love” that explores Chesnutt’s deep and much overlooked catalogue and will be the second album in the Cowboy Junkies four volume Nomad series released on Proper Records, following the critically acclaimed first volume Renmin Park.
The band approached Chesnutt’s music with the same sense of adventure that Chesnutt approached his own recordings. Timmins says, “We let happy accidents happen and tried to invest his songs with the same spirit in which they were written, but at the same time adding our own Northern spin. Exploring his songs and delving deeper and deeper into them has been an intense, moving and joyous experience. I don’t think Vic would have wanted it any other way.”
Demons will be followed by volumes 3 and 4 of the series (Sing in My Meadow and The Wilderness). Fans can follow the progression of the series at: http://latentrecordings.com/cowboyjunkies/
Demons’ full track listing is as follows:
Flirted With You All My Life
See You Around
West of Rome
We Hovered With Short Wings
When the Bottom Fell Out