Chris Whitley died from lung cancer in November, 2005. In his last years, he recorded more exceptional music than many musicians do in a lifetime.
The material is Whitley and Lang originals, plus two Dylan covers – “When I Paint My Masterpiece” and “Changing of The Guard.” One new song, “Underground,” was written by the whole band during the recording session. Whitley and Lang share lead vocals, with Whitley playing National steel guitar and Lang on amplified acoustic lap steel, acoustic guitar, fretless banjo, chumbush, and loops. Grant Cummerford plays upright acoustic and electric bass, and Ashley Davis plays drums/percussion.
Posthumous releases usually do little to enhance an artist’s reputation, but Dislocation Blues is a strong exception. It gives a glimpse into Chris Whitley’s possible but unfortunately truncated future. His unique take on acoustic blues achieved a level of intensity and personal truth that few, if any, contemporary blues practitioners have matched.
This article originally appeared in VG‘s Jul. ’07 issue. All copyrights are by the author and Vintage Guitar magazine. Unauthorized replication or use is strictly prohibited.