Chris Whitley, Outrider on the Edge
November 14, 2005 9:42 AM Subscribe
"I know these desires could kill me dead, but how you gonna act instead?" So sings eros-haunted Delta-blues-steeped songwriter Chris Whitley on his superbly dark new album, Soft Dangerous Shores, and he's not kidding -- Whitley is currently "very very ill" and receiving hospice care. After Whitley's 1991 debut, Living with the Law, the slim (drug-addicted?) songwriter was acclaimed by his peers as "the real deal." When he was dropped by Sony in 1998, he released an album of stark poetic beauty recorded in a barn, Dirt Floor. Soft Dangerous Shores updates Whitley's coiled-viper resophonic guitars with dreamlike electronic atmospheres (one reviewer describes it as "a hypnotic wrestling match between juke joint blues and Kraftwerkian beats"). Instead of posting an elegy for another underappreciated self-destructive genius a la Nick Drake after his death, check out Whitley's music (via free downloads) while he's still with us on Earth.
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