I’ve lived in Denton for about five years. Music was my original reason for moving to Denton. Don Henley, Nora Jones, Roy Orbison and Meat Loaf have roamed University of North Texas or North Texas State University’s (as you may know it) hallways at one time or another. Funk legend Sly Stone was born in Denton and UNT’s one a clock lab band has won several Grammys. Needless to say this environment harvests an abundance of creative energy.
In my late teens I traveled from Dallas to Denton more times than I can count to see some of my favorite bands. One of the places that housed such acts was Hailey’s club. Last week owner of Hailey’s, Jennifer Gibbs, announced its closing its doors at the end of the year and open up a non-music related venture.
Vic Chesnutt was one of many that graced the Hailey’s stage. Chesnutt was a quadriplegic gifted with an uncanny ability to craft songs with incredible depth despite being able to play a very limited number of chords. Although not a house hold name you may have seen Chesnutt in Billy Bob Thornton’s Sling Blade.
Recently a memoir commemorating Chesnutt was published its entitled “Don’t Suck, Don’t Die: Giving up Vic Chesnutt” it chronicles Chesnutt through highs and lows, written by one of his touring band members and close friend Kristin Hersh. Seeing this book in the library I naturally gravitated towards it and was pleasantly surprised of how insightful it was at grasping the characteristics of a man dealing with struggles mentally and physically. Although unknown to most Chesnutt was an influence to many singers and songwriters. In 2006 NPR dubbed Chesnutt as one of the top ten greatest living songwriters alongside artists like Bob Dylan, Paul McCartney and Bruce Springsteen.
This video was recorded at Hailey’s and was the second to last live performance by Chesnutt before his death in 2009.
Library Assistant- Public Services
Emily Fowler Public Library