Todd Nance sings “Blight”

Numerous artists paid tribute to fallen Athens, GA songwriter Vic Chesnutt this past weekend. The Vic Shows took place at Athens, GA’s 40 Watt Club on Friday and Saturday and featured such varied performers as Widespread Panic percussionists Todd Nance and Domingo Ortiz, Elf Power, Lambchop, members of Drive-By Truckers, producer John Keane, Mt. Zion, Monsters of Folk’s Will Johnson, Daniel Hutchens and David Barbe, among others. In addition, Chestnutt friends Mercyland—a band featuring Andrew Donaldson (guitar), David Barbe (bass) and Joel Suttles (drums)—reunited for the first time in almost 20 years Saturday night.

Many of Chesnutt’s friends performed the late singer’s music: Keane and Shepherd offered “Expiration Day” off the Panic/Chesnutt album Co-Balt, the members of Elf Power played “Phil the Fiddler” and most of the Drive-By Truckers—minus Mike Cooley—made a last minute appearance after selling out the venue on their own in January. In addition, DBT’s Patterson Hood joined Kelly Hogan during her tribute.

Friday’s highlight was a performance by The Romper Stompers—the all-star group featuring Nance, Oritz, Bloodkin’s Daniel Hutchens, Barbara Cue’s William Tonks and John Mills, and Drive-By Truckers’ John Neff. The musicians ran through three Chesnutt songs tied to the Widespread Panic canon: “Blight,” the Dave Schools collaboration “Puppy Sleeps” and “Lagoon” (the latter song appears on an album by Barbara Cue, a band that also features Nance). 100% of proceeds from the event benefit Chesnutt’s family.