“Recently, on a trip to Mexico, I was caught off-guard by a cover of Elliott Smith’s “Between the Bars.” The version sounded so much like Billie Holiday that I was instantly dumbfounded. How, I wondered, could Billie Holiday cover Elliott Smith? – it was impossible. Slightly less impossible was Smith’s song as a cover of Billie Holiday. But this didn’t sit right either, and so when I learned that the performer in question was Madeleine Peyroux, I was relieved, even pleased. I’ve always thought of Elliott Smith as a musician whose sound and sensibility are deliberately at odds. Peyroux’s version only confirmed this impression for me; hers is a languid, slinking, sonorous rendition, one that displays a wide range of expression and phrasing. Smith’s harmonies and melodies just aren’t as extravagant. Continue reading
“I became friends with Elliott around 1997/1998 & it was because I was so moved by his music in Good Will Hunting that I had to say hello and thank you at a small club in LA that we were both at (also I grew up in Dallas so we had that in common plus I found out later we were both children of psychiatrist fathers….). We were friends for awhile in LA, before he was on the Oscars show & after that… I was in grad school to become a psychologist so I already had my masters & was “practicing” serving people. I won’t go on and on… But I sincerely thanked Elliott for his songs & he was a genuine and dear friend of mine. He wasn’t perfect (as we know) but he knew people really cared about his music – I remember a few years ago when I could finally look up interviews with him again that I saw one where he said he was only continuing on to write music and produce it because of his fans.
“Kurt Cobain wasn’t ours, in Portland. As suburban middle-schoolers who mass-transited it into town every weekend to pick up our copies of The Rocket, we loved Nirvana, naturally. But after the suicide, my punk-rock songwriting pal and I felt a little bit angry—left behind. And so we were excited about the beginnings of Candy Ass Records, each of us devoting hard looks to each new CD from the label that showed up at Ozone on Burnside, across from Powell’s. We didn’t need it to become as big a deal as Sub Pop; we just wanted something we could get next to from the start. Continue reading