Songs for Black Days: Cane Hill's Elijah Witt | Page 2 | Revolver

Songs for Black Days: Cane Hill's Elijah Witt

NOLA vocalist shares 13 songs that've helped him through dark times
Cane_Hill_Elijah_Witt_Press_2018_Credit_Felicia_Detty.jpg, Felicia Detty
Cane Hill's Elijah Witt, 2018
photograph by Felicia Detty

"These are the songs that have gotten me over so many moments of insurmountable, unadulterated, depression," Cane Hill vocalist Elijah Witt says. "I've found when I'm at my lowest point there's nothing in the world I want less than to hear about someone else's happiness because, point blank, how dare they have it so much better than I do at that exact moment — what makes me so unworthy of finding happiness? What did they do to deserve what I long for every moment of my existence?

"I used to boast that it's naive to think music could save lives, but when I look back at the pivotal parts of my life — the moments when I thought no one around me gave a passing thought about my well-being — there were always my idols and my friends singing to me the same words that went through my head every day and breathing into me the hope you can only find when you surround yourself with characters of the same cloth. These are the songs that taught me there is great power in your sadness, your hopelessness and your despair. There is a reason you feel the way you do and it's not because you should give up, but entirely the opposite. No one ever made a difference in this world without feeling immense pain. No one without suffering has ever created anything truly beautiful. No one without pain has ever been able to guide someone else through their own."

For his part, Witt has plenty of pain, much of which plays out across Cane Hill's latest LP, Too Far Gone. Its 10 tracks take on dark and close-to-heart subjects: toxic relationships, drug abuse, the scourge of racism and the debilitating effects of Alzheimer's. For Revolver's ongoing "Songs for Black Days" series, presented in partnership with Hope for the Day, we asked the singer to share a few of the songs that have guided him through his pain, empowering him to do the same for his own fans. As Witt says, "These are the songs that showed me how to help the people who feel the same way I feel."

Ben Folds - "Fred Jones, Pt. 2"

A solemn song where a guy gets let go from his job. There's a beautiful amount of empathy I feel when I listen to it. I can see feel the sadness of this make-believe creature and I stop thinking about how I feel because it's just not as important anymore.

City and Colour - "The Grand Optimist"

It reminds me that a positive mindset is the only path to positive outcomes. And if I can't be positive, to make sure I have someone who is around me when I start sinking. 

Alice in Chains - "Would?"

I'm not sure if it's the pain in Layne's voice or the constant questioning of whether everything is going to be all right or not ... possibly both. I've never really been able to pinpoint why this song is so important to me. It just is. And it's the Alice song I put on repeat on dark days.

Letlive - "Day 54"

This song came out when I was really struggling with religion. I thought I was Christian, I said I was Christian, but daily I was finding more reasons to resent organized religion and I started to hate myself because of it. "Day 54" helped me accept I was an atheist and that I didn't have to hide under a guise to please people with backwards beliefs. 

The Cranberries - "Dreams"

I listened to this song on my way from elementary school home with my mom. Everything about it reminds me of when my life was more simple. 

As Cities Burn - "Pirate Blues"

My parents had a pretty nasty divorce when I was young. I don't want to get any deeper than that out of respect to them or whatever, but it spiraled my life. Cody [Bonnette, vocals] from As Cities Burn always had a way of hitting the fuck out of me when he wrote about divorce, or abandonment, or not feeling good enough for whomever made you.  

Olivver the Kid - "Banana Peel"

First time I heard it, I cried my damn eyes out. There are all these fucking standards about who you have to be or how you have to look act or talk. "Banana Peel" is about finally giving those standards a massive middle finger and doing what you want and being who you are unapologetically. 

Black Sabbath - "Changes"

I can't remember the last show we played without "Changes" being in-between songs. A year or so ago, before Too Far Gone, everyone in the band was in a bad place and this song had the ability to keep us from crashing. It made us want to feel that feeling of being OK with where we're going and not wanting to bring our extra baggage along. 

Chevelle - "I Get It"

This was my fucking jam after I broke up with someone where the relationship was really toxic. I heard the lyrics and I was like, "Goddamn that's fucking it."

Good Charlotte - "Hold On"

I was 12, my parents had just gotten divorced. My mom moved me and my sister to Virginia and we left everything we knew. Don't ever tell me suicide can't be a prevalent thought in a child's head because I don't even know if I'd be here without this song. It feels so weird to think some guys I've never met wrote something that made me feel like I was worth something. But here I am ... talking about it over a decade later. 

Pantera - "A New Level"

You want to feel like a tough motherfucker? Get a punching bag and blast this while you go to town. Usually I want to dwell in my grief, but I really don't think I've ever been anything but PISSED and confident as all hell when Pantera is on.

Dead and Divine - "Carcinoma"

I'll always find comfort in songs about accepting my own demons. There's a lot of solace to be found in taking responsibility for your actions and when I was religious it was always "God forgives" with a shrug and that's shit that weighed down on me so hard. 

The Plot in You - "The One You Loved"

Weirdly it seemed Landon [Tewers, the Plot in You's vocalist] was going through what I was going through at the same time as me. It's about being with someone who makes sure you never feel like you're good enough no matter what amount of your soul you've already given to them. 

Every day in America, 121 people complete suicide. It only takes one to break the silence — take action in your community and sign Hope for the Day's mental health pledge.

If you are experiencing suicidal thoughts, contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 (TALK) or go to for a list of resources.