Okkervil River kicked off their tour this weekend with a set at the Boston Calling festival. Here’s a video of the band performing “It Was My Season” , one of the very best tracks from their brand new record, The Silver Gymnasium, at the festival…
Andrea DenHoed on the haunting quality of a slowed-down version of Dolly Parton’s “Jolene”: http://nyr.kr/15cnqlH
“Many of her songs float lightly on dark currents—if you scan her compositions from the past fifty years, you’ll find plenty of dying children, abandoned women, and paralyzing poverty dished up in catchy tunes and warbling tones.”
Everyone in The National is a total Deadhead, which helps to explain how those guys could play “Sorrow” for six straight hours at MoMA. They band has talked before about bridging the gap between fans of the legendary jam band and the indie-rock set with a charity compilation, and that idea has now evolved into an actual project. In a new interview with Radio.com, Bryce Dessner and Matt Berninger discussed the status of its Grateful Dead tribute album, noting that Bon Iver, Vampire Weekend, Kurt Vile, and The War On Drugs have all agreed to contribute tracks. Dessner also mentioned getting calls from Fucked Up and Lee Ranaldo of Sonic Youth. There’s no official release date yet, but it’s expected to be out sometime in 2014.
This is the best thing you’ll see today because this is singer/songwriter Mary Lou Lord and her 14 year old daughter, Annabelle, singing two Elliott Smith songs and a Big Star song that Elliott always covered (“Thirteen”) last Saturday at the Bowery Ballroom as part of the Elliott tribute concerts that his sister, Ashley, organized this year to mark the ten year anniversary of his passing.
Mary Lou hasn’t performed in awhile, by her own admission, and was feeling phobic, so her daughter (“the biggest Elliott Smith fan”) got to sing lead on the first song, St. Ides Heaven. Mary Lou/Mom joins in on harmonies a little way through. The pair then tackle “I Figured You Out”, the song that Elliott wrote, threw away because “it sounds too much like the fucking Eagles”, and was eventually talked into giving to Mary Lou to record on her own record.
It’s heartbreaking to watch people play Elliott’s songs and realize he’s been gone for TEN YEARS, but it’s heartwarming to read about how wonderful the concerts felt, to see so many people gathered together to remember him and keep his music life, and to have all the money raised go to charities or causes that meant something to Elliott.
I’ve been trying to gather up enough internal fortitude to write a gigantic essay on Elliott in honor of the upcoming 10th anniversary (again: HOW IS IT BEEN TEN YEARS ALREADY?), but I’m not entirely sure I can wade in those waters all over again. The sadness of late October 2003 will likely never, ever go away for me.
Elliott Smith would have turned 44 on August 6, and in honor of the occasion, the Friends and Family of Elliott Smith are throwing four concerts around the country that will raise money for charitable organizations. Taking place in Portland, Los Angeles, Austin, and New York City, the intimate shows will include tributes by director Gus Van Sant, producer Jon Brion, members of Grandaddy, Chris Thile (Punch Brothers, Nickel Creek), Rhett Miller, and Mary Lou Lord, among others.
Dubbed “No Name #1: A Celebration of the Life and Music of Elliott Smith”, the concert series will include the contributions of over 100 musicians in total. The first takes place at Portland’s Doug Fir Lounge on August 4 and will benefit Outside In, an organization devoted to assisting homeless youth. Van Sant will host and the Grandaddy dudes will be in the house. L.A. goes down on August 6 at Largo hosted by Jon Brion with proceeds going to Free Arts for Abused Children.
On August 9, “No Name #1” hits Austin’s Scottish Rite Theater with local radio legend Jody Denberg, plus appearances from the Grandaddy crew, Lil’ Cap’n Travis, and Davíd Garza. The Sims Foundation, which provides mental health services to musicians, will benefit. And on August 10, New York’s Bowery Ballroom will be commandeered by Miller, with Thile and Lord scheduled to perform, raising money for New Alternatives for LBGT Homeless Youth.
Okkervil River's Will Sheff travels back to the area where he grew up, teams up with his childhood friend Aaron Johnson (whom he hasn’t seen in 15 years), and performs “Down Down the Deep River”, a track from Okkervil River’s upcoming record (The Silver Gymnasium), at various New England open mic nights.