What Do We Want from Jeff Buckley?


The album You and I comes out today via Sony, a collection of demos, mostly covers, recorded by Jeff Buckley in 1993. Some preliminary reviews argue the continued stream of posthumous releases is an important part of understanding the artist’s official work, while others contend that “the recordings…reveal a few Buckley’s—brace yourselves—flaws” without adding to his oeuvre.

Whatever you think about the album, the Guardian took its release as an opportunity to ask some of Buckley’s collaborators what it was like to work with him. One musician who’d opened for Buckley on the Grace tour recalled the strain behind Buckley’s famously moving performances:

…by the end of his Grace tour he was a different human being. He was tired; he was down. There was a darkness in him that I’d never seen. He was playing a much bigger room. It was heaving and they were so excited to see him. I could tell he was struggling with himself. The band was rocking and playing almost metal versions of his songs – it was like he was mocking his own gentility. At the end of the show he threw himself into the crowd, which I hadn’t seen him do before. I mentioned it to him after the gig and he said: “Do you know what? I have so little in me right now, the only thing I could do was literally give myself to the crowd.”

Liz Wood is a freelance editor, fiction writer, and current student in the NYU MFA program. More from this author →