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Searching for Elliott Smith at the Oriental with director Gil Reyes and Mary Lou Lord

Update: Chella Negro's take on "Needle In the Hay" added below.

While Elliott Smith perhaps didn't have the profound cultural impact of Kurt Cobain, his tragic, untimely death was every bit as sad and harrowing as the Nirvana frontman's. As with Cobain, I can vividly remember where I was in 2003 when news about Elliott broke and the initial sinking feeling of denial that accompanied it, and the subsequent shockwaves it sent through my system when I finally allowed myself to believe that it was true, that Elliott had indeed taken his own life.

Elliott Smith was one of those rare artists whose music was so poignant and evocative that it genuinely felt like he was pouring his heart out just to you. He wasn't, of course, but it sure felt that way. He had friends and fans all over the world, and the news of his death sent us all reeling.

In the intervening years, there have been a number of articles and albums and books about Smith, including, most notably, Autumn De Wilde's book, Elliott Smith, which featured De Wilde's photos of the gifted songwriter along with conversations with his friends. The book gave us some rare insight into Elliott's life not really glimpsed before. Gil Reyes's documentary, Searching for Elliot Smith, which is slated to be screened in Denver on Saturday, July 28 at the Oriental Theater, offers even more insight, with interviews from Smith's former fiance, friends and colleagues.

After the premiere, not only will director Gil Reyes be on hand for a Q&A, but Mary Lou Lord will be heading up a bill that also includes a number of esteemed locals, I'm With Her, the Raven & The Writing Desk, Chella Negro, eldren, Kyle James Hauser, Poet's Row, Straight Nerdy Like a Cool Kid and Nicholas Schmidt performing Smith's songs.



Follow Backbeat on Twitter: @westword_music


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