Buried Treasure: “The Biggest Lie”

Elliott Smith vs. Conor Oberst

Videos by American Songwriter


The best kind of cover songs are the ones that show a student learning from the master — like Bob Dylan singing a Woody Guthrie song, or My Morning Jacket covering the Band’s “It Makes No Difference.” Instead of just your average homage, you can almost visually see the roots that connect the two artists when one performs a song by the other.

One such case is Bright Eyes singing Elliott Smith’s “The Biggest Lie.” That Conor Oberst is an Elliott Smith fan should come as a surprise to no one. They both write fragile melodies, sing in a quavering voice, and favor acoustic guitars. They’re also both tremendous lyricists. You could argue who does the whole sad singer-songwriter thing better. But the world would be a much sadder place without the music of either man.

Follow the links to see the rest of a ridiculously intimate performance from Smith, performing near the beverage case at a small record store in Tempe, Arizona. One year later, he’d be playing “Miss Misery” at the Grammys. He was probably happier here.

Elliott Smith, “The Biggest Lie”: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j86qkC3mGnk&feature=related

Bright Eyes, “The Biggest Lie”

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