Album Rating: 5.0
When Rudy was 5, his preschool teacher expressed that she was a little concerned about him to my mother. She said, "He keeps singing a song... something like "mama, just killed a man/ put a gun against his head/ pulled my trigger/ now he's dead". Imagine her surprise when my mom broke into a big smile, laughed and said, "Oh, that's Queen. His big sister..."
So yes, it would only stand to reason that 5 years later I would ensure that Elliott Smith was a necessary part of Rudy's required listening tutelage.
I could never narrow down ES's albums to any one favorite. At best, I can break down the albums to pre-Oscars and post-Oscars (or bare bones studios vs Dreamworks megamillions)... and then attempt to prioritize a favorite from there. If forced to make a choice, Either/ Or from the pre category, and Fig 8 from the post. However, this is virtually impossible... I'd be missing No Name #4 from Roman Candle, Coming Up Roses from ES, Say Yes from XO... to name a few from the countless others.
Album Rating: 5.0
One of my many regrets is that I wasn't able to drag Rudy to any of the ES concerts that I was privileged to attend. However, Rudy was definitely privvy to the inner circle of ES fans, the "original core" who commented and blogged throughout the mid-late 90s on the Yahoo group. Rudy eventually met Jeff, I'm pretty sure he met Charlie (Sweet Addie site), and Jordan (for the life of me I cannot remember Jordan's Yahoo handle right now) actually helped Rudy get one of his first writing gigs! These folks along with ES's music helped me through that decade-long divorce, Rudy had written about. ES music and culture was certainly a family affair, which is why I think it is so personal to both of us.
I'll end this comment with a small story, that I don't think even Rudy has heard...
May 19, 2000. Myself along with the other regulars from the original core were waiting for hours outside of Irving Plaza. Whiskey Biscuit was opening, and I had just seen them open for Elliott elsewhere, so of course they were recognizable from the start. Elliott hopped out of the trailer/ bus and was helping them carry equipment out. I said to Krista, and the others around me, "Hey! There he is! Let's go over there!" Krista had a momentary lapse of shyness, so I went over to Elliott alone. "Hey, Elliott" I said, and he stopped. "Hey, how's it going?" he said in his rather shy but friendly voice. "So... um... (I rummaged my guitar strap out of my bag), I brought this, hoping you could sign it?" and then I continued, almost apologetically (as I sorta felt like an icky groupie), "See... on a sad day, I know that if I can just look at this, it'll make me smile, and maybe I'll pick up the guitar and feel a bit better." Elliott leaned in super close to me, and asked earnestly, "Are you having a sad day?!?" He was so concerned, so serious... "No, no! I'm having a happy, happy day! Are you kidding? Tonight's gonna be great!" Elliott smiled, signed my guitar strap, and I wished him a fantastic show. But his absolute concern for my well being resonated so profoundly. He was truly a very special heart, and it lives on in his music, always did and always will.