Portland Music

A New Elliott Smith Podcast Hits Your Earbuds

Say Yes: An Elliott Smith Podcast promises interviews with Jack Black, Gus Van Sant, and Anderson Cooper, as well as a previously unheard conversation with the late Portland singer-songwriter himself.

By Fiona McCann February 3, 2017

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Late Portland singer-songwriter Elliott Smith

Twenty years after the release of his acclaimed album Either/Or, a new podcast in commemoration of Portland's beloved musical son Elliott Smith is being released.

Say Yes: An Elliott Smith Podcast drops today, Friday, February 3. The miniseries promises stories from the likes of actor Jack Black, Anderson Cooper, Regina Spektor, the Flaming Lips, Ben Gibbard, and Portland filmmaker Gus Van Sant—who incorporated tracks from the album into the soundtrack of his Academy Award-winning Good Will Hunting.

A joint endeavor from Smith’s former label, Kill Rock Stars, and Sean Cannon’s weekly public radio show the Guestlist, the podcast will also feature an unheard interview with Smith from 1998.

Smith, originally from Nebraska, moved to Portland in his teens, where he lived through the '80s and '90s and launched his musical career with legendary local rock band Heatmiser. His songs are seeped in Portland references, and his hometown stomping ground spawned relationships with collaborators like Van Sant and other local musicians such as Pete Krebs. His biggest hit, "Miss Misery" was nominated for an Academy Award. He died in October 2003 of a self-inflicted stab wound to the chest.

The podcast is one of several new projects mining Smith's musical legacy, among them a new Skinner/Kirk contemporary dance show set to Smith's music, played live, opening at BodyVox in March, and Hand2Mouth Theatre’s A Fond Farewell, a collaboration with new music outfit Third Angle that reimagines Smith’s music as a staged suite of classical-art songs. The latter project is slated for April 2018 at Lincoln High School, Smith's alma mater.

Listen to the first episode of the podcast below. For more, take a walk through the stores, streets, and clubs of Elliott Smith's Portland, and hear how his collaborators and friends—including Krebs, Larry Crane, and Van Sant—remembered him in this piece marking the 10th anniversary of his death. 

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