Last night I (quite literally) dusted off my Elliott Smith songbook and opened to the first page and proceeded to learn “Angeles”. I would love to have a been a fly on the wall when Elliott wrote this song because it is pure magic and power in the quiet and the flawless accuracy of his fingerpicking. I can get through the song, pretty well actually. But I’m still practicing to get that Elliott perfection.
Elliott Smith is one of my favorite songwriters of all time because of where he goes, musically, in his songs. He covers so much ground; the chords are constantly moving and changing, which in turn makes the melody more compelling. I’ve been a fan for awhile now. I remember having some of his music on my iPod between high school and college, but his catalog never fully hit me until I wanna say, 2011. That seems right.
Dedicating time to learn covers (or even new chords for that matter) is something I’m incredibly bad at; I’m impatient and impulsive and sometimes I wish I weren’t. But I think there’s immense educational value in sitting down to learn songs and different chords and strumming patterns because that is what in fact informs future songwriting. That concept is literally the way I started learning guitar and soon after, writing my own songs. But again, sometimes I find it difficult to commit. Though I was glad to find time to take a look at “Angeles” last night. I was so excited I even played it for my parents once I had it down.
I’ve recorded a bunch of videos on my phone between yesterday and today, wanting to ultimately upload a flawless clip to Instagram, but it is still a work in progress and something I don’t think I’ll cave into until I get it right. I just found what seems like a good tutorial on YouTube and I think I’ll watch that next time I sit down with my guitar to play it.