Elliott Smith's live track 'Some Song' gets posthumous release, fans say they miss the 'most underrated' singer
This is the second preview single from the upcoming 'Live at Umbra Penumbra' album, out on August 28, courtesy of the Kill Rock Stars record label
Elliott Smith left us in October 2003, but the dark and introspective leanings of the beloved singer-songwriter have left an indelible imprint on millions of his fans. The Oscar-nominated artiste's songs were often filled with sensitivity and melancholia, powered by his trademark whispery voice, poetic lyrics and an ingenious sense of harmony. And now, after five studio albums during his lifetime and quite a few records released after his death, we have yet another posthumous Smith release, courtesy of the indie record label Kill Rock Stars. This time it's a new song that features as the second preview single from the soon-to-be-released full-length collection of Smith's live numbers.
The new track titled 'Some Song' is a previously-unreleased live recording from the upcoming album 'Live At Umbra Penumbra', which will be out on August 28 this year. On this track, we can hear the 'Miss Misery' singer introduce his new song to the audience. "Got a rock song I’d like to play," Smith tells the crowd, before launching into the song while strumming the acoustic guitar. "It’s a junkie dream, makes you so uptight / Yeah it’s Halloween tonight and every night," he declares, before segueing into the moody chorus that goes, "Help me kill my time / 'Cause I’ll never be fine."
'Some Song' is the latest Smith song to grace our ears this year, following the previous release of 'Big Decision' in May. The forthcoming album 'Live At Umbra Penumbra' was actually recorded on September 17, 1994, at a cafe called Umbra Penumbra in Portland, Oregon. It's also notable for being the earliest solo recordings ever sourced from the 'Between The Bars' singer's catalog.
This new album was produced by Larry Crane, the official archivist for Smith's estate, using a high-quality cassette that belonged to Casey Cyrnes. In addition to this, and to celebrate the 25th anniversary of his second record, Kill Rock Stars is also re-issuing Smith's self-titled 1995 album, 'Elliott Smith: Expanded 25th Anniversary Edition'. Both these special releases will be accompanied by a 52-page Smith coffee table book, which features handwritten lyrics and plenty of previously unseen photographs by JJ Gonson, whose work features on the cover art for the original 'Elliott Smith' album.
"At KRS we follow the direction of Elliott’s family," Kill Rock Stars founder Slim Moon stated. "They have always expressed a desire for us to honor his legacy by keeping the albums available, and by bringing his music to new generations of listeners. As the industry has changed, we've worked hard to make sure Elliott's legacy is available for new fans to discover and old fans to re-discover. He was a genius songwriter as well as a great musician, and we are honored to be able to help keep his legacy vibrant for every new generation."
He also added, "As the person who originally signed him to Kill Rock Stars, starting with the ‘Needle in the Hay’ single and this self-titled album, I am especially passionate about putting forward reminders of this phase of his career — his magic as a solo performer and as a writer of songs for simply guitar and voice with little or no accompaniment." He added, "I also really want him to be remembered for his humor, warmth, and absurdist sense of irony."
Considering Smith's songs were drenched in dark humor and pensive soul-searching, one fan tweeted, "2020 hasn’t been depressing enough, so it definitely makes sense that we’ll get a new Elliott Smith live album." Another fan said, "I adore Elliott Smith. Still so missed." A longtime admirer of Smith's work also declared he was the "most underrated and under-appreciated singer/songwriter", while another noted that he recorded "fragility and boldness" in equal measure. Another awestruck fan concluded, "Elliott Smith died 17 years ago and still no one has ever even come close to him."
One more said, "I miss this man, he taught me how to play guitar. Beautiful music, thoughts and feelings."
It's touching to see these tributes even today, and we can take solace in the fact that the troubled young artist is still greatly appreciated and admired long after his untimely death at the age of 34.