Between the Bars in Three Acts

Here’s a positive change that occured recently: I’ve started listening to music again after at least a year of silence. I got myself some decent speakers and then went and picked out loads of new songs on iTunes and that got me started again. It had been awfully quiet around here which I suppose is okay—makes you appreciate music that much more. I made a belated discovery in the form of a jazz singer called Madeleine Peyroux. I remember being sixteen or so and discovering Billie Holiday for the first time and feeling like I’d found a piece of me I hadn’t even realized was missing. Peyroux’s voice and phrasing are so similar to Billie Holliday’s that I was shocked that I’d somehow managed to miss her until now. She’ll never replace Billie of course, but she’s got quite an interesting repertoire and has gone from singing lots of standards to writing more and more of her own lyrics which are writen in a style similar to those golden oldies which is quite a rarity. So I ended up purchasing all my favourite songs from her four albums and been listening to them quite a lot, and one song in particular called Between the Bars caught my attention. I found out it was written by Elliot Smith, another newly discovered musician (because of Peyroux’s cover of his song actually). He had a very devoted fan base and a was a great lyricist, and his songs have been covered by many contemporary singers. Like many artists, Smith suffered from depression, alcoholism and drug addiction and he would be my age now had he not died from mysterious stab wounds which may or may not have been self-inflicted in 2003 which has now turned him into a real legend. The more I found out about the song’s composer the more poignant it became to me and so I sought out other artists who had covered it and wouldn’t you know it there is also Emily Haines from Metric, one of my favourite current singers, who does another very good live version. Ladies and Gentlemen, I present to you: Between the Bars in Three Acts

Elliott Smith’s live version

Emily Haines (looking like she’s just pulled herself out of a bar to make it to the taping!)

Madeleine Peyroux (nice video but sadly of a poor quality)

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