Christopher O'Riley

Home to Oblivion: An Elliott Smith Tribute

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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.

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