Jeff Buckley with Gary Lucas – Songs to No-one
If you haven’t heard of Jeff Buckley, you have now. Jeff Buckley occupies a rather hallowed space within popular music and for great and good reason – he had a remarkable voice and, sadly a very short career. Unfortunately Jeff, who was the son of Tim Buckley died in 1997 after releasing only one album – he drowned in the Mississippi river.
His album “Grace” released in 1994 has been praised as a signifcant musical landmark, a highpoint, and was very highly and critically acclaimed . David Bowie declared it the greatest record ever made.
Gary Lucas is a guitarist reknowned for having played with Van Vliet / Captain Beefheart and the Magic Band on “Doc at the Radar Station” and “Ice Cream for Crow” – two fantastic late era Beefheart discs.
His guitar playing is modern, original, asymmetric, unusual and Gary Lucas always brings an avant garde flavour to a style that intelligently melds with rock and blues genres.
So this album, Songs to No-one, with both Gary Lucas and Jeff Buckley has much promise to fulfill. Importantly these pieces of music were recorded in 1990 and 1991 and offer a rare glimpse into the evolution of a few songs that Buckley would later release on his legendary Grace album.
Even though this album consists of shelved demos, radio broadcasts, club performances and studio sessions there is a certain magic in combining Buckley’s heavenly vocal talent with Lucas’ idiosyncratic guitar work.
Passion & Vulnerability
Many people might describe this album as “raw”, and, unusually we are allowed to enjoy the imperfect “authenticity” of live performance. The rest of the album features ambient, intimate and otherworldly guitar textures and motifs accompanied by the young Jeff Buckley’s vocals. Despite the lack of indulgent production this is a rich combination of talents where the reductive sonics are increasingly rewarding.
The music is stripped down in comparison with the polished completion of “Grace”, to reveal a vulnerability, a passion and a mystique.
The guitar playing of Gary Lucas on the studio cuts,is as usual, something of a rarified nature – sometimes almost like a Sengalese elegy – and these are the pieces that really stand out – ghostly, ethereal and incandescent.
This album is something special.