Jeff was born November 17, 1966 to cult folk singer Tim Buckley. His music is fairly difficult to categorize, sometimes he rocks out a bit with classic rock influences, other times he belts out soulful ballads. In the modern music world of boy bands
, teen queens
, and dime a dozen pop bands, Jeff was amazingly fresh with his music. His songs are very textured
, often using chord progressions and alternate tunings that somehow work out. His voice is unique and the lyrics are intelligent which may offend music fans who enjoy such brilliant writing as "Baby you and me ain't nothing but mammals, so let's do it like they do on the discovery channel
Jeff's first album, Grace was released in 1994. It is best described as folk influenced classic rock, which isn't really fitting either. The album achieved much critical acclaim, in part due to Jeff's moving voice and passionate lyrics. The songs are somewhat strange to those without open minds, the album as a whole is very eclectic but strangely the songs all works together. Then, on May 29, 1997 while swimming in the Mississippi River while his friend went back to the car, Jeff dissapeared. His body was discovered several days later down river.
After his death, Jeff's family put together Sketches For My Sweetheart The Drunk which consisted of studio tracks and nearly finished singles for his next album, My Sweetheart the Drunk. The first disk consists of tracks designated for the album, mostly finished but somewhat un-polished. The second disk contains studio recordings, mainly experimenting by Jeff, and offers a glimpse at where he was headed. Overall, the album has a darker feel, although it is still intensely powerful and moving.
A new album has recently been released, entitled Mystery White Boy. This release consists of live recordings from his previous Mystery White Boy tour. Truly an amazing album, it shows an intensity and passion even greater than the studio recordings, quite an achievement. It is probably the best of his albums.
While Jeff may not be for everyone, for those who appreciate emotion and passion and artistic expression in music, his work is truly outstanding. Recently, his first album Grace made #20 on PitchFork Media's top albums of the 1990's and #73 in the VH1/Rolling Stone Top 100 Rock and Roll Albums of all time. Chris Cornell also dedicated the song Wave Goodbye to Jeff on his solo album Euphoria Morning (an excellent album by the way).
Also, if you can track down the Live at Glastonbury recordings, they are fantastic. I managed to get them off Napster which is probably impossible now, and they weren't high quality, but these are definately the best recordings available of Jeff. My only complaint is that the announcer cuts in every now and then with stupid things like "My God he's a sexy man"... This doesn't seem to be available on cd anywhere, although there are a few live cd's out there, one at the Bataclan, one at Olympia, and one at Sin-E (whatever that is...). I've not heard any of these... There is also a DVD and VHS video out now which features 108 minutes from his Mystery White Boy tour in 1995 in Chicago. From what I've heard this is a pretty amazing video.