Song of the Week: Chris Whitley’s “Rocket House”

Today marks the 49th anniversary of the birth of Chris Whitley, cult singer-songwriter and neo-bluesman.

Although he never achieved the mainstream success that he deserved, his 1991 album “Living With the Law” was one of the most remarkable debuts of the past two decades.

Chris Whitley died of lung cancer in 2005.

Right now, our fave Whitley album is 2001’s “Rocket House,” featuring a batch of unlikely special guests including Dave Matthews, DJ Logic, Blondie Chaplin and Bruce Hornsby.

Here’s a live version of the title track:

UPDATE: Bill Patterson sent along these photos, adding “the first two were from 6/10/2005 in Bellows Falls, Vt, the 3rd with Hayes Carll (and Darcy Yates then from the Fred Eaglesmith Band) is from 6/11/05 in Walpole, NH. Both were associated with the Roots on The River Festival. “




(photos by Bill Patterson)

  1. Michael Hochanadel says

    Thanks for this reminder of how great Chris Whitley was

  2. Sara says

    You’re welcome. We were going to just post Chris Whitley videos all day today instead of any other postings, but Sony has disallowed embedding (which is pretty stupid if you ask me, which, of course, they didn’t) so we couldn’t post one of the official music videos, which are definitely worth a look on Youtube.

  3. joyce says

    thanks for helping to keep chris whitley’s music alive. his live performances were mesmerizing to me, especially when it was just chris and his national steel guitar; so much raw emotion and power. and each of his records illustrates a depth and diversity (e.g., din of ecstacy to dirt floor to rocket house to dislocation blues [with jeff lang]).

  4. Greg says

    Amen to that, Joyce.

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