A graduate of New York’s early 1990s avant-garde club scene, Buckley – whose father Tim was a folk hero of the late 1960s – recorded his first commercial four-track EP, Live at Sin-é , in said tiny coffeehouse in the city’s bohemian East Village.
Before its release by Columbia in the autumn of 1994, Buckley and his core of musicians had wasted no time in creating their first studio LP, Grace (1994).
A ten-track ode to loneliness, loss and the sheer incompetence of man in times of trouble, Grace‘s lyrics are tinged with melancholia, but the album is saved from over-sentimentality by Buckley’s joyous, uplifting vocals and comforting musical arrangements.
The unbearably sad Last Goodbye is accompanied by strings that would stir the stoniest of hearts while Benjamin Britten’s Corpus Christi Carol gives Buckley full rein to display his astonishing multi-octave vocal range. His take on Leonard Cohen‘s Hallelujah is so confident you find yourself questioning who recorded the song first.
Grace was an instant classic, with critics and musicians alike applauding Buckley’s musical craftsmanship and effortless songwriting – but the glittering future predicted by all was not to be . . .
Jeff Buckley drowned at the age of 30 in May 1997, leaving behind a tragically short but vitally important musical legacy.