November 10, 2016
This third tribute to the forlorn, tragic Smith, whose odd 2004 death was ruled a suicide—fourth including a one-man piano instrumental LP—is the finest. Say Yes is less emotionally tear-jerking than 2005’s collection of valiant little-knowns on 2005’s A Tribute to Elliott Smith or 2006’s better, more localized/poignant To Elliott From Portland, but perhaps that’s helpful—with 12 years distance now, just the songwriting’s moving qualities govern this soulful, graceful, measured look at a unique talent that—for once—was recognized in his prime. The marquee names deliver, especially Tanya Donelly, Swervedriver’s Adam Franklin, Lou Barlow, his Dinosaur Jr. bandmate J Mascis, and Massachusetts contemporary Juliana Hatfield. But the darkly lovely coolness of Julien Baker, ex-Dresden Doll singer Amanda Palmer, and acoustic-pretty William Fitzsimmons and Wild Sun are the clear winners. Overall, Smith’s gifts are herein preserved and rediscovered anew. – Jack Rabid, The Big Takeover
Say Yes! A Tribute to Elliott Smith is available on CD, LP, Cassette.