This is for anyone that needs a SOUL ESPRESSO MOMENT TO & TO PRESS REPAUSE
THIS SONG HITS ME RIGHT IN THOSE PLACES THAT ONLY MUSIC CAN GET TO
Life and career
Born in Anaheim, California, Buckley was the only son of Mary Guibert and Tim Buckley. His mother was a Panama Canal Native of mixed Greek, French, American and Panamanian descent, while his father was the son of an Irish American father and an Italian American mother. Buckley was raised by his mother and stepfather, Ron Moorhead, in Southern California, and had a half-brother, Corey Moorhead. Buckley moved many times in and around Orange County while growing up with a single mother, an upbringing Buckley called “rootless trailer trash“. As a child, Buckley was known as Scott “Scotty” Moorhead based on his middle name and his stepfather’s surname. His biological father, Tim Buckley, was a singer-songwriter who released a series of highly acclaimed folk and jazz albums in the late 1960s and early 1970s. Buckley said he only met him once at the age of eight. After his father died of a drug overdose in 1975, he chose to go by Buckley and his real first name, which he found on his birth certificate. To members of his family he remained “Scotty”.
There was a time in my life not too long ago when I could show up in a cafe and simply do what I do, make music, learn from performing my music, explore what it means to me, i.e., have fun while I irritate and/or entertain an audience who don’t know me or what I am about. In this situation I have that precious and irreplaceable luxury of failure, of risk, of surrender. I worked very hard to get this kind of thing together, this work forum. I loved it and then I missed it when it disappeared. All I am doing is reclaiming it.
On the evening of May 29, 1997, Buckley’s band flew to Memphis intending to join him in his studio there to work on the newly written material. That same evening, Buckley went swimming in Wolf River Harbor, a slackwater channel of the Mississippi River, while wearing boots, all of his clothing, and singing the chorus of the song “Whole Lotta Love” by Led Zeppelin. Buckley had gone swimming there several times before. A roadie in Buckley’s band, Keith Foti, remained on shore. After moving a radio and guitar out of reach of the wake from a passing tugboat, Foti looked up to see that Buckley had vanished. Despite a determined rescue effort that night, Buckley remained missing. On June 4, two locals spotted his body in the Mississippi River near a riverboat, and it was brought to land.
Buckley’s autopsy showed no signs of drugs or alcohol in his system and the death was ruled as an accidental drowning. The following statement was released from the Buckley estate:
Buckley’s voice was a particularly distinguished aspect of his music. He possessed a tenor vocal range, he had a vocal range of between three and a half to four octaves. Buckley made full use of this range in his performance, particularly in the songs from Grace, and reached peaks of high E in the tenor range at the culmination of “Grace” and “So Real”. These high notes were unusual for a rock musician in that he sung them with his head voice, rather than in a falsetto, and that he sung them for sustained periods. “Corpus Christi Carol” was sung entirely in a high falsetto. The pitch and volume of his singing was also highly variable, as songs such as “Mojo Pin” and “Dream Brother” began with mid-range quieter vocals before reaching louder, higher peaks near the ending of the songs.
Buckley played guitar in a variety of styles ranging from the distorted rock of “Sky is a Landfill”, to the jazz of “Strange Fruit”, the country styling of “Lost Highway”, and the guitar picking style in “Hallelujah”. He occasionally used slide guitar in live performances as a solo act and used a slide for the introduction of “Last Goodbye” when playing with a full band. His songs were written in various guitar tunings which, apart from the EADGBE standard tuning, included Drop D tuning and an Open G tuning. His guitar playing style varied from highly melodic songs, such as “Twelfth of Never”, to more percussive ones, such as “New Year’s Prayer”.
After Buckley’s death, a collection of demo recordings and a full-length album he had been reworking for his second album were released as Sketches for My Sweetheart the Drunk — the compilation being overseen by his mother, Mary Guibert, band members and old friend Michael J. Clouse, as well as Chris Cornell. The album achieved gold sales in Australia in 1998. Three other albums composed of live recordings have also been released, along with a live DVD of a performance in Chicago. A previously unreleased 1992 recording of “I Shall Be Released“, sung by Buckley over the phone on live radio, was released on the album For New Orleans.
Since his death, Buckley has been the subject of numerous documentaries: Fall in Light, a 1999 production for French TV, Goodbye and Hello, a program about Buckley and his father produced for Netherlands TV in 2000 and Everybody Here Wants You, a documentary made in 2002 by the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC). An hour long documentary about Buckley called Amazing Grace: Jeff Buckley has been shown at various film festivals to critical acclaim. The film was released worldwide in 2009 by Sony BMG Legacy as part of the Grace Around The World Deluxe Edition. In the spring of 2009 it was revealed that Ryan Jaffe, best known for scripting the movie The Rocker, had replaced Brian Jun as screenwriter for the upcoming film Mystery White Boy. Orion Williams is also set to co-produce the film with Michelle Sy. A separate project involving the book Dream Brother was allegedly cancelled.
Buckley’s premature death inspired many artists he knew or influenced to write songs in tribute to the late singer. PJ Harvey knew him personally and in the song “Memphis” she takes lines from a song on his unfinished album, “Morning Theft”, and in her own words reflects on Buckley’s death: “In Memphis…die suddenly, at a wonderful age, we’re ready to go“. Rufus Wainwright, whose fledgling career had barely started when he met Buckley, wrote “Memphis Skyline” in tribute to him, singing “then came hallelujah sounding like Ophelia, for me in my room living, turn back and you will stay, under the Memphis Skyline“. Duncan Sheik‘s “A Body Goes Down”, from his 1998 album Humming, was a response to Buckley’s death. Steve Adey wrote a song tribute entitled “Mississippi” on his 2006 album All Things Real. The song contains the lyrics “Until the morning thief steals the humming of the Lord”, a reference to Buckley’s song “Morning Theft”.
In May and June 2007, Buckley’s life and music were celebrated globally with tributes in Australia, Canada, UK, France, Iceland, Israel, Ireland, Macedonia, Portugal and the U.S. Many of Buckley’s family members attended the various tribute concerts across the globe, some of which they helped organize. There are three annual Jeff Buckley tribute events: the Chicago-based Uncommon Ground, featuring a three day concert schedule, An Evening With Jeff Buckley, an annual New York City tribute, and the Australia-based Fall In Light. The latter event is run by the Fall In Light Foundation, which in addition to the concerts, runs a “Guitars for Schools” program. The name of the foundation is taken from the lyrics of Buckley’s “New Year’s Prayer”.