For Your Late Wednesday Listening Pleasure: Elliott Smith, Between the Bars at Trees in '99

Categories: Music
We had hoped to end the day by telling you which redistricting map the city council's going to send to the Department of Justice. That will not happen, at least not in the next little while: After Mayor Mike Rawlings took council members Tennell Atkins and Delia Jasso into a back room to hash out a new map, Your City Council bogged down in a heated discussion of procedure during which accusations of back-door deals flew fast and furious, with Scott Griggs bemoaning the creation of a "super council of three" while Linda Koop revealed she didn't even know where Stevens Park is. (Here, it's here.)

The council, which has gone into another recess, was to regroup at 5:30; that's been pushed back till 6:30, with Dwaine Caraway saying he hopes that's not in response to another council member's "email blast" calling for supporters to storm City Hall. Anna's been there all day and will recount the day's tantrums and theatrics perhaps later tonight but more than likely tomorrow, first thing, assuming the council can come to a decision before the wee small hours of the morning, as Tennell Atkins had threatened much earlier in this long day.

So, then, that opening in our regularly scheduled programming gives me the opportunity to offer you this far more peaceful exit to the workday, which I came across late last night: Elliott Smith's set at Trees on March 9, 1999. We once revisited his May 2000 show at the Deep Ellum venue, and then took a listen to this collection of live covers, but this estimable collection of shows (scroll down) includes downloadable MP3s from his performance one year earlier -- a remarkable homecoming for the one-time local that includes songs that have become nothing short of standards in recent years, among them "Between the Bars," "Sweet Adeline" and "Ballad of Big Nothing." Which reminds me: "Do what you want to whenever you want to though it doesn't mean a thing."

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Derrick White
Derrick White

He's such a fascinating artist.  Typically, the whiny voice, overly complicated guitar work, and precious lyrics would be a huge turn off for me.  There's just this raw edge that cuts through everything I would normally criticize and makes those songs dangerous.   I can't think of another musician like him.


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