Chris Whitley, 1960-2005


Salon Staff
November 23, 2005 3:15AM (UTC)

This morning brought the tragic news that Chris Whitley, 45 years old, died from lung cancer on Sunday night. Although Whitley never achieved widespread fame, those who loved his music loved it fiercely. Personally, there are few artists whose work means more to me. His songs were full of alienation, loneliness and a frustrated but deeply felt desire to connect, but Whitley was above all a poet of mortality, and he wrote more powerfully about death than any other songwriter I know. Messenger Records has kindly given me permission to post the title track from his masterpiece, "Dirt Floor," in memory of Whitley and his art.

There's a dirt floor underneath here
To receive us when changes fail
May this shovel loose your trouble
Let them fall away

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Now the mist shall be your blanket
While the moss shall ease your head
As the future soon forgotten
As the dirt shall be your bed

Cause there's a dirt floor underneath here
To receive us when changes fail
May this shovel loose your trouble
Let them fall away


Salon Staff

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