I would not be lying if I told you I moved to Los Angeles for Elliott Smith.
I was going there anyway. UCLA had the best student newspaper in the country. I loved the campus. I wanted to be in a city. I didn’t want to move to Berkeley and eat multigrain bread under perpetual clouds. (Not yet, anyway.) But the thought of living in the same city as my favorite musician, driving across town to see him at Spaceland or the Silverlake Lounge every month or so… it had a draw.
Smith was dead less than a month after I started school. In 11 years, his music hasn’t faded at all to me, and his place at the center of my musical life has only grown: I didn’t know when I fell in love with Largo and Jon Brion and the Softies that they had been in his orbit. Brion wound up being the musician I saw every month, as often as I could.
There’s a new documentary about Smith making the festival rounds, Heaven Adores You. It’s the first to include his music, which it does in poetic and powerful ways. I saw it this afternoon: his songs have the chance to really breathe. I’ll be writing more about the movie in the Oregonian soon, but I want to say this now: I was watching the credits intently, looking to catch the names of the songs featured, and then they kept scrolling into the “thank you” section.
Rawkblog was on that list.
This blog’s always been about whatever music was passing through my headphones. It’s never been a proper Smith fan site, but it’s been important to me to pay him tribute, gather up his songs, keep his memory alive in some small, inadequate way. I am moved and grateful that it was noticed.