Chris Whitley’s short, restless career encompassed folk, noise rock, jazz, country, mainstream rock and the blues. He was discovered by producer Daniel Lanois who helped him score a major label record deal with Columbia Records in 1988.
His first album, Living With The Law was a mainstream rock affair with good songs that gave him radio exposure, but it wasn’t until his second album and third albums, Din Of Ecstasy and Terra Incognita that Whitley came into his own with great songs ensconced in noise.
After being dropped by Columbia he began releasing records independently including his covers album Perfect Day where he was backed by Jazz musicians Chris Wood and Billy Martin (of Medeski, Martin & Wood). He also released some terrific solo acoustic records that are well worth seeking out.
Not only was Whitley a great songwriter, but he also had a knack for choosing interesting covers by artists like Bob Dylan, Kraftwerk, Gary Numan, Prince, The Clash, Nat King Cole, The Doors and many others. Today’s Song Of The Day is “I Can’t Stand It” one of his more inspired covers originally by The Velvet Underground. The track is from his War Crime Blues album which was originally released ten years ago.
Whitley died of lung cancer in 2005. He leaves behind his daughter, Trixie who has recorded several records under the name Black Dub with Daniel Lanois. She has also released four solo albums to date.