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Home To Oblivion: An Elliott Smith Tribute

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Album Review

Due to the critical accolades bestowed upon pianist Christopher O'Riley's pair of tribute albums to Radiohead, 2003's True Love Waits: O'Riley Plays Radiohead and 2005's Hold Me to This: Christopher O'Riley Plays Radiohead, it was only a matter of time until he gave another rock artist a piano makeover. Next on the list was late singer/songwriter Elliott Smith, in the form of 2006's Home to Oblivion: An Elliott Smith Tribute. Perhaps even more so than Radiohead, one of Elliott Smith's greatest talents was for lyric writing. And with "Home to Oblivion" entirely instrumental, you miss out on one of Smith's greatest musical assets. As a result, the album is more or less best suited for serving as background music, as evidenced by understated and relaxed renditions of "Coast to Coast" and "Speed Trials." Obviously, O'Riley isn't trying to outdo Smith's definitive original versions — as the title says, he's merely paying tribute. If piano fans who would probably not have come in contact with Smith's music do so via O'Riley, then Home to Oblivion: An Elliott Smith Tribute has certainly accomplished a great deal.

Customer Reviews

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Born: Illinois

Genre: Classical

Years Active: '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

Growing up near Chicago, Christopher O'Riley took lessons in classical piano but played in rock and fusion bands throughout middle and high school before his family moved to Pittsburgh and he began experimenting with jazz. Still, it was to classical music that he turned as a profession, attending the New England Conservatory in Boston. His first releases followed in this vein, solo performances of works by composers like Schumann, Beethoven, Ravel, Busoni, and Stravinsky, and he even began hosting...
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