Elliott Smith, Five Years Gone

Elliott Smith on the never-aired Jon Brion Show

A half-decade has passed since Elliott Smith‘s passing, and the years do nothing to dull the pain of his absence. Luckily for us, the prolific songwriter left behind dozens — hundreds — of songs, both on his solo records and with Heatmiser, through his extensive concert recordings available at the Live Music Archive, and in the unreleased tunes which have reached our ears somehow, from who knows where. Today, I’d like to share a few of his finest unreleased tracks — songs that are as good as anything that made his albums. If Elliott ever wrote a bad tune, I don’t want to know about it.

Elliott Smith – “Confidence Artist”: mp3
Elliott Smith – “Dancing on the Highway”: mp3
Elliott Smith – “Mr. Good Morning”: mp3

If you’re not an Elliott fan, each and every one of his albums is a treasure, but start with Either/Or and XO, and work your way backward and forward from there. He has been my favorite musician since 2000, and despite some thousands of albums that have sifted through my stereo and iPod since then, I can’t imagine anyone ever taking his place.

Below, some links for further listening:

Elliott Smith – Unreleased Material, Pt. 1: Live
Elliott Smith Live: The Definitive Guide
Elliott Smith – The Complete Live Covers

Elsewhere: Everybody Cares, Everybody Understands has a number of posts today about Elliott, including more unreleased gems, a look at his Heatmiser days, and a freshly unearthed track (!) from one of his lost early bands, A Murder of Crows.


We miss you.