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Philly songwriters on saying yes to Elliott Smith (tribute show tomorrow at World Cafe Live 8/21)

600full-elliott-smithI remember hearing Elliott Smith for the first time. It was the summer before my sophomore year of college. I just got through a semester long training for my school’s radio station, and having converted from my thrash punk stage to the more down-to-earth genre of indie rock only six months before, I excitedly asked my friends for suggestions to play on my upcoming show.

One handed me a mix CD of her favorites, and on there was a two-minute song that instantly tugged at my chest. A spidery whisper singing “I’m in love with the world through the eyes of a girl…” and checking the handmade lined-paper CD case, I fell in love with “Say Yes” and the haunting delicacy of Elliott Smith.

Celebrated for his quiet but powerful lyricism, Elliott Smith was a beautiful tragedy that left this world too soon. Inspired by the No Name concert series, local blog Tri State Indie has put together a tribute to the singer/songwriter held at the World Cafe Live tomorrow night. Starting the show at 8 p.m., seven artists will be featured, including Philadelphia’s Jonah Delso and September Call-Up.

Although a little skeptical of tribute shows in general, I knew this was going to be the closest I would get to actually seeing Smith live. I bought a ticket and checked out the all-local line-up. But as I listened though YouTube videos and looked at band websites, I started to wonder why each of the eclectic artists wanted to be part of such a tribute. Is it that their sound was similar to Smith’s? Or is there a deeper connection that pulled them to this performance? Continue reading →