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Chris Whitley
Christopher Becker Whitley was born on August, 31st, 1960 in Houston, Texas. The family spirit was marked by restlessness and creative talent – Chris’ mother being a sculptress and painter, his father working as an art director in the world of advertising. The Whitleys travelled a lot, especially in the American Southwest, a landscape that sparked Chris’ imagination and found its way into his songs later on. The Whitleys also listened to the radio a lot: blues, bluesrock, psychedelia, with Jimi Hendrix becoming an early idol. Chris got his first guitar at age fourteen and soon developed a love for the sound of vintage „National“ resophonic guitars, the metal-bodied tools of the old bluesmen. Whitley made his way to New York City at age seventeen, the city that was to shape his future path.

He turns into a busker on the downtown streets and performs solo in clubs like „CBGB’s“. A travel agent from Belgium becomes an early fan and offers the struggling musician a plane ticket to Europe. Chris Whitley takes up the offer and leaves New York for Brussels. He stays in Belgium for ten years, playing music in the Brussels scene and also becoming a husband and father. His daughter Trixie is born 1987. Today she’s a talented musician in her own right. When Trixie is just one year old, her parents leave Europe for New York. Chris works in a factory, keeps on writing songs, developing his sound. A meeting with Canadian producer Daniel Lanois finally does the trick: Whitley gets a record deal. His first album „Living With The Law“ is elected best debut album of 1991 by Rolling Stone Magazine. Whitley goes out as support act for Bob Dylan and Tom Petty. He is an in-demand studio player, perfoming on albums by Cassandra Wilson, Shawn Colvin and many others.

But Chris Whitleys personal life and professional career are not straight-on affairs. The marriage to his Belgian wife falls apart, the blues/roots sound of „Living With The Law“ is not something that can tame his creative restlessness for long. Whitley doesn’t want a formula, he wants to move on. Chris Whitley developes a hard-edged sound and abandons the formula of his initial success, gaining a lot of rock and punk credibility in the process. He turns into an avant blues musician and leaves the mainstream music world as an independent, an artist only obliged to his creative vision. A number of Indie labels support Whitley’s music and he produces a steady stream of fascinating albums. Chris is touring constantly, visiting Europe frequently, with audiences very much appreciating his free-spirited blues stylings. In 2002, Chris moves to Dresden, Germany. A German artist becomes his companion in life, inspiring new music, such as the jazzy atmospherics of the „Hotel Vast Horizon“ album. Whitley also experiments with trip hop grooves. It’s highly expressive experimental music featuring very unconventional and personal takes of the blues tradition.

Chris Whitley died from cancer at the age of just forty-five on November 20th, 2005.