Elliott Smith Documentary Unearths New Unreleased Songs

'Heaven Adores You' will include more than a dozen tracks brought out from record label vaults

Elliott Smith
Andy Willsher/Redferns
Elliott Smith
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A new documentary about Elliott Smith will feature more than a dozen previously unreleased songs by the late singer-songwriter. NME reports that more than half of the songs used in Heaven Adores You were dug out of record label vaults just for the film.

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The documentary's director, Nickolas Rossi, worked with people close to Smith, including his high school friend Kevin Moyer, who put together the benefit album Live From Nowhere Near You. "I'm one of the few people who have been able to look into both the Universal and Kill Rock Star vaults," Moyer said. "Elliott's masters are split between two labels. It was fun to be able to get in there and listen to songs and try to get some of that music that had never been heard out there and into the fans' ears."

The film is reportedly the first full-length documentary allowed to include Smith's music. According to Moyer, some 15-20 of the 35 songs in the film are previously unreleased tracks covering his entire career, starting with his youth in Texas up through his death in 2003. "The biggest part of his music is the connection it makes," Moyer said. "Somehow when you listen to his music he just connects with your heart and your brain."

Heaven Adores You, which bills itself as "an intimate, meditative inquiry into the life and music of Elliott Smith . . . threading the music of Elliott Smith through the dense, yet often isolating landscapes of the three major cities he lived in," premiered in early May at the San Francisco International Film Festival.

Another group of previously unreleased Elliott Smith recordings emerged this past January when former Soul Coughing frontman Mike Doughty released three EDM tracks featuring Smith's vocals. Doughty explained that Smith had recorded the tracks in 1998 "to be sliced/diced over beats." 

Watch the trailer for Heaven Adores You:

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