It's difficult to put into words the simple, quiet power of Elliott Smith.
Deeply melancholy and supremely moving, Smith's music was probably as pristine a reflection of the tortured soul of an artist as anything you're likely to ever experience. He exposed every bit of himself, and through that, those who found that they could relate to his personal triumphs and, far more often, tragedies also discovered a kind of peace in the knowledge that something so beautiful could come from a heart so ravaged. More than just about any other singer-songwriter, Elliott Smith's music means something to me. It's the stuff of sadness and loss. Of grace in resignation. It's so very, very human.
Elliott Smith died brutally, by his own hand, ten years ago today. He left behind a collection of material that, without as much fanfare or public recognition, rivals some of the work of Dylan or Lennon.
Every time I listen to him, I get a greater appreciation for the tragedy of his death. What the cost continues to be for music -- and the world.