The thing about Alex Chilton is that he was a musician from the south of the United States.
The hardest part of that sentence was to put this brilliant, idiosyncratic, iconoclastic, genius singer, songwriter, musical innovator, guitarist in the past tense.
Chilton died in New Orleans on St Patrick’s Day from a heart complaint. He was on his way to Austin, Texas to play at the South by South West music conference and festival.
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East Nashville is a lovely part of the world. It’s nicely gentrified, full of neat houses with neat gardens. There are funky coffee shops where people congregate early and late with their computers.
It’s pretty standard inner urban life but it wasn’t always so. There was a smashing tornado in 1998 which blew away the crack houses and the nastier parts of town.
Some people who lived there then survived. Like Steve Earle who, as was told in Lauren St John’s brutally honest biography Hardcore Troubadour, once escaped from his hospital bed and scurried off to a street corner in that part of town, ward gown gaping in the breeze, waving a $20 bill in the air, waiting for a fix.
Todd Snider lives in East Nashville. He’s a singer songwriter who settled in the country music capital after growing up in Portland, Oregon. His entry to the town wasn’t as dramatic as Earle’s $20 desperado act but he did have some bad habits.
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