Featured Image courtesy of the Artist
Jeff Buckley may have passed away in 1997, but he has been immortalized through his music. Whether through his studio album Grace or through his posthumously released cover of Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah,” Buckley’s transcendent vocals and consummate guitar playing have touched us all. On March 11th, another compilation of his work was released, You and I. The album is a collection of ten demos that were recorded in 1993, shortly after he signed to Columbia Records. It includes eight covers and two originals, and it gives us a deeper look into the musical soul of Buckley as a developing artist.
“This is based on some music that I heard in a dream … it’s going to be called ‘You and I,’” says Buckley on the beginning of the title-inspiring track, “Dream of You and I.” This song is the rawest recording on the album, and it consists of Buckley talking through the framework of the song, explaining his dream, and playing a rhythmic plucking pattern on the guitar. It gives listeners a glimpse of Buckley’s creative process and shares a whole new side of “You and I” that wasn’t on his second album, Sketches For My Sweetheart The Drunk, which was released a year after he died.
The rest of the You and I is also sparsely arranged, featuring only Buckley’s guitar and vocals, giving it a stripped-down, intimate sound. It includes the demo version of Buckley’s hit “Grace” and an assortment of covers that recognizes some of the influences that ultimately shaped his musical style, including The Smiths, Led Zeppelin, and Bob Dylan. Even Buckley’s country influence is represented on this album through his cover of “Poor Boy Long Way From Home.”
The standout track on the album is Buckley’s cover of “Everyday People” by Sly and the Family Stone. His use of percussive strumming gives the song a funky feel that greatly complements his soulful, smooth vocals. The track showcases Buckley’s powerful high-range vocals and natural feel for shaping a song. Overall, the upbeat jam will leave you shouting, “We’ve got to live together!”
Buckley’s music has continued to be released since his death nearly twenty years ago, but this latest collection of tracks is truly special. The raw recordings demonstrate Buckley’s natural talent and showcase the musician’s knack for interpreting the art around him and for integrating it into his own sound. The chill vibe of the entire recording brings you into the studio with Buckley, and after ten songs, it leaves you feeling satisfied and thinking the same words that Buckley mutters at the end of the last track, “I Know It’s Over”: “That’s about it. Let’s go home.”
What did you think of this posthumous release? Tell us in the comments below and check out our recent interview with producer Steve Abbodabbo, who walks us through recording with Jeff Buckley.