The path to success in the music industry is difficult for anyone, and the late-singer songwriter Vic Chesnutt had a harder road than most.
Vic, who passed away in 2009 on Christmas Day, had written songs since childhood. At the age of eighteen, a car accident took away his ability to walk and gave him just "limited use" of his hands. A gifted guitar player, Vic could now play only simple chords. This is something that every artist there who uses their hands to create has likely contemplated, if just for a moment, but for Vic, it was a day-to-day reality.
Still, he persevered, and, in the twenty-six years that elapsed between his accident and his death, Vic accomplished more than most. First and foremost, he wrote music — seventeen albums, including a major label release, About to Choke, in 1996. On top of that, he was an actor (you might remember him in Sling Blade) and a political activist. In the course of his career, Vic worked with the likes of Michael Stipe, and his songs were covered by Madonna, R.E.M. and more. Reviewer Bryan Carroll said that his music contained a "humble magic" and that his melodies seemed as familiar as â€œan old house or an old friend."
Now, Vic's many friends and admirers are holding a pair of concerts in his memory at Athens, Georgia's 40 Watt Club.
"The Vic Shows: A Celebration of Vic Chesnutt's Life and Music" will feature artists such as Victoria Williams, Lambchop, Todd Nance (Widespread Panic), Guy Picciotto (Fugazi), Dave Barbe (Drive-By Truckers producer), Kelly Hogan and Will Johnson (Centro-Matic) and more. Head here to see the full roster.
Although every aspect of Vic Chesnutt's life and music is unique, there's one poart of his story that's all too common. Even though he had health insurance, Vic was dealing with massive health care debts right up to his passing. As we've asked before, how many more benefit concerts will we have to throw before we see the kind of reform that gives creators greater and more affordable access to health insurance?
As we remember and honor Vic, we can take time to examine our own state of affairs. If you're a musician, FMC's Health Insurance Navigation Tool (HINT) can help you better understand your health insurance options, via a FREE phone consultation with one of our two health insurance experts (who are also musicians). HINT doesn't sell insurance. It does, however, let you go over your situation on a case-by-case, state-by-state basis, with no jargon. Look, we know the system is far from perfect. But we think a little understanding goes a long way. Something else we learned from Vic Chestnutt.