In songs everyone should know

Two years after his death, Elliott Smith’s reputation continues to metastasize, likely because his songs are some of the more poignant and endearing takes recorded in the last 20 years. Classical pianist Christopher O’Riley paid homage to Smith with two hands on his recent Home to Oblivion: A Tribute to Elliott Smith, while Smith’s Pacific Northwest brethren like The Decemberists, Dolorean and Eric Matthews rendered re-workings of his songs for To: Elliott From: Portland, a love letter from a city to its adopted, lost son. The influence and effect of Smith’s work stretches beyond geographical confines, though, and, as such, all of the recognition he may ever receive posthumously won’t be enough to honor the sullen sweetness of songs like “Sweet Adeline” and “Drive All Over Town” or the world-weary disgust of “Needle in the Hay” and “Christian Brothers.” For Somebody That I Used to Know,a Triangle ode to Smith, local acts including NATHAN ASHER, THE PRAYERS AND TEARS OF ARTHUR DIGBY SELLERS, BOWERBIRDS, CHARLES LATHAM and TICONDEROGA (!) join several touring bands at DUKE COFFEEHOUSE on Saturday, April 15 at 9:30 p.m. For more, see —Grayson Currin

In loaded weekends

The next time THE POUR HOUSE packs a slate of North Carolina talent into one weekend, they may want to consider calling it a mini-festival and allowing people to bring sleeping bags. As is, consider the weekend a sampler platter of what the area has to offer, opening with local neo-trad faves KICKIN’ GRASS on Friday night, followed immediately by STILLHOUSE, an austere yet soulful Raleigh rock quintet employing Johnny Irion and members of Chatham County Line and Tift Merritt’s backing bands. Two of the state’s most promising hip-hop herds bring the party Saturday night, as Raleigh’s INFLOWENTIAL joins Greensboro’s THE URBAN SOPHISTICATES onstage. And, as if that isn’t enough fun, The Countdown Quartet–the Triangle’s New Orleans syndicate–plays the Blount Street club on Sunday. For specifics, see or our online music calendar at —Grayson Currin

in critical mass transit

Dian Magie, director of UNC’s Center for Craft, Creativity and Design (CCCD), will discuss alternative mass transit design, bike paths, road improvements, bridges and pedestrian walkways during “On the Road Again … Creative Transportation Design.” We don’t know if Magie is going to cover personal pneumatic tube pods, but it’s high time we had them in the Triangle.

The free lecture happens at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, April 18 at Page-WalkerArts and History Center and is presented by Cary Visual Art as part of their series on public art. For more information, call 468-9500 or go to

In april showers bring april flowers

This weekend, vow to spend more time looking for yellow lady-slippers in the increasingly verdant great outdoors. The Eno is home to a great variety of native flowers, and every Sunday this spring there’s a 2 1/2 hour guided wildflower hike along the river. This week, meet at
2 p.m. at Eno River State Park‘s New Hope Trail on Cole Mill Road in Durham. For more info, call the Eno River Association at 620-9099 or visit

In free verse

Caitlin Doyle, Michelle D. Seaman, Joy Gonsalves and Paul Deblinger, the winners of the Independent Weekly‘s 2006 poetry competition (see results on page TK) will be joined by Andrea Selch, the final judge of the contest and director of Carolina Wren Press, for a reading of the winning poems on Friday, April 14 at 7 p.m. at Quail Ridge Books & Music. There will also be an open mike, so bring your own poems to share, and join us for wine and light refreshments at Raleigh’s legendary independent book store. Call Quail Ridge at 828-1588 for details.