Elliot Smith is gone but not forgotten. Ever since the singer songwriter allegedly took his own life in 2003, he has been immortalized in the hearts of his many fans.It should come as no surprise that there have been several posthumous releases of the artist’s work.
Currently, Kill Rock Stars is set to rerelease his self titled second album along with a previously unreleased live album called Live at Umbra Penumbra. The album is set to come out on August 28th. The release will mark the 25th anniversary of the Elliot Smith album which originally came out in 1995.
Kill Rock Stars has given fans a little sample of what to expect from the album by previewing Smith’s version of his song ‘Big Decision’ from live at Umbra Penumbra. The concert took place on September 17, 1994 at the Portland Café Umbra Penumbra and it is the earliest known recording of Smith performing as a solo act. The performance of the song has been described as ‘gripping and restless’.
In addition to the live footage, the release will also feature a remastered version of the original Elliot Smith LP. The project was carried out with producer, engineer and Smith family official archivist Larry Crane at the helm. The recordings were produced using a high quality tape cassette of the live footage as well as close sources to the first generation mixes of the Elliot Smith album.
“There are fan-traded MP3s out there of this show, but when people hear what I was able to extract from this original tape, they’ll be shocked,” Crane explains.
The release will also come accompanied by a 52 page coffee table book with handwritten lyrics, anecdotes from Smith’s friends and colleagues and two dozen previously unseen photos taken by JJ Gonson who also shot the album’s cover photo.
To promote the release, Kill Rock Stars will be sharing covers of Smith songs performed by well-known artists. The first scheduled to be released will be Califone’s ‘Needle in the Hay’. Other artists confirmed to be included are Bonny Light Horseman, Marisa Anderson, MAITA and Prateek Kuhad.
Smith died back in 2003 of an alleged suicide. He was in his Echo Park apartment and had gotten into an argument with his girlfriend Jennifer Chiba. Chiba went to take a shower and heard him scream. When she came out to see what was going on, she saw he had a knife in his chest.
Chiba pulled out the knife and called 911. Elliot died in the hospital later that afternoon. There has been much speculation as to whether his death was homicide and his autopsy report leaves that scenario open as a possibility.
It is very sad that Smith was taken from us at such a young age. Fortunately, his legend lives on through many posthumous releases such as the one coming soon via Kill Rock Star Records. We look forward to hearing the revamped tunes and live footage.