the tear that hangs inside our soul forever
"music is endless. and even though i've heard a whole bunch of music from so many different places and fallen in love countless times with all kinds of music, there's still something. i guess it's just called freedom."
on may 29th, 1997, jeff buckley went for a swim in wolf river harbor, a tributary of the mississippi river. he never walked out, and that day the world lost one of the most promising, talented artists of his generation. known best for his amazingly operatic, soaring, extraordinary voice, buckley was truly a singular artist whose proper recording career yielded only a single lp--1994's grace.
"songs just come out of poems, and sometimes poems come out of dreams. or reality. or something i want to say. sometimes i'll hear--some tune will come down on me first. or i'll sit absorbed in something on the guitar, some...thing, something that my hands need to do, and music will come out of that."
i remember hearing grace for the first time, in 1995 as a freshman in college. it was mesmerizing. the level of emotion conveyed in his voice was eclipsed only by some of the words he was singing:
i'm lying in my bed, the blanket is warm
this body will never be safe from harm
still feel your hair, black ribbons of coal
touch my skin to keep me whole-"mojo pin"
kiss me, please kiss me
but kiss me out of desire babe, and not consolation-"last goodbye"
it's never over, my kingdom for a kiss upon her shoulder
it's never over, all my riches for her smiles when i slept so soft against her
it's never over, all my blood for the sweetness of her laughter
it's never over, she's the tear that hangs inside my soul forever-"lover, you should've come over"
"the only goal is in the process. the process is the thing, with little flashes of light here and there--those are the gigs, those are the live shows. but it's the life in between, that's all i've got."
even though he could have sung about brushing his teeth and still made it sound emotional, his words were those of a man whose feelings were true--in love and in pain, in time and in space. his was a seemingly free-spirited personality, though obviously he was easily touched and affected. his life was in paraphrasing the mundane and celebrating the spectacular, all in the only way he knew how--through music.
"and what do i want people to get from the music? whatever they want. you know, whatever you like. somebody asked me what i wanted to do and i just said, i wanted to, just to give back to it what it's given me. and meet all the other people that are doing it. just to be in the world, really."
having left us with only one true marker and a bunch of tantalizing works in progress, no one could know what kind of artist jeff buckley would have eventually become. but that his loss is still felt today by so many is indicative of the impact his music had on his audience, and the feelings are still there, ten years later. he truly is the tear that hangs inside our soul forever.
jeff buckley : "lover, you should've come over"
from the lp grace [legacy edition] (columbia records, 1994)
jeff buckley : "everybody here wants you"
from sketches for my sweetheart the drunk (columbia records, 1998)
jeff buckley : "unforgiven (last goodbye)"
from live at sin-e [legacy edition] (columbia records, 2003)
joe tripician (with jeff buckley) : "ozark melody"
unreleased--this is a song that jeff helped co-write with joe tripician and tripician's musical partner, fred reed. the song was recorded in 1996 but went unheard until 1998, when jeff's mom, mary guibert, decided it should be released to the internet to show off jeff's lighter side.