‘You and I’ is the new posthumous album by Jeff Buckley. It features newly discovered songs — covers and originals — recorded as demos and now a glimpse into the late music artist’s early development. Music critics are weighing in and here’s a roundup of reviews.
Photo: Jeff Buckley
‘You and I’ is comprised of 10 tracks which Jeff Buckley recorded in 1993 when he first signed to Columbia Records. As such they reveal the musical evolution of the remarkable and versatile singer-songwriter and musician who died tragically at age 30, in a drowning accident in the Mississippi River in 1997. His music traversed several genres from folk to blues to jazz and rock, and he created a unique synthesis. He released only one album during his lifetime, his debut album ‘Grace.’ The remaining albums, like this one, have been posthumous compilations of what he left behind.
Nearly twenty years have gone by, and, as is often the case with music artists whose lives are cut short through such tragic happenstance, the legend and the legacy only grow with time, much like other artists we’ve lost much too soon from Patsy Cline to Aaliyah. And along with that, the aching question of what might have been. We are left with hopes of finding music we’ve never heard before and, thankfully, that’s what’s happened. In the vaults, literally, a small trove of musical gems suddenly unearthed more than two decades later.
Now as the critics are weighing in on demos, on recordings that are unfinished and never intended to be released, but, as is the case always, there’s much to explore and to comment about and opine on what it might mean historically. Here’s a roundup of what’s being said.
“….It captures Buckley offering stripped-down readings of some of his favorite songs by other artists, ranging across eras and genres. Though the singer’s affection for these songs is never in doubt, his performances rarely approach the level of the originals. This is Buckley still in his musical infancy, at the earliest stages of laying down the music for his debut album, which wouldn’t be released until more than a year later……” –Chicago Tribune
“….His talents shines brightest on the ballads; funk tracks like Sly’s ‘Everyday People’ and the evergreen blues of Gerry And The Pacemakers’ ‘Don’t Let The Sun Catch You Crying’ don’t quite give him enough Launchpad to go truly stratospheric, but Bob Telson’s ‘Calling You’ is a fabulous showcase for his warblesome wonder.
Read more at http://www.nme.com/blogs/nme-blogs/jeff-buckley-you-and-i-first-listen#JqbeHzj8lpTPwXGI.99….” –NME
“….”Dream Of You And I” demonstrates how difficult it is to transform a few hauntingly sung words (“You and I, you and I, you and I / All for you”) into a finished work, while also capturing a few compelling moments of conversation wherein he lays out the song’s meaning…..” –NPR
“….Whether it was classic rock or the blues, Buckley’s covers were never simply exercises in imitation, always revealing a part of him, but it’s his original material, too little of which is found here, that truly provides a glimpse into his soul…..” –Slant Magazine
“…You And I is worth noting mostly for being the studio demos Buckley recorded for Sony to showcase his vision for his legendary debut, Grace. It’s Buckley alone at the microphone, taking a moment every now and then to acknowledge producer Steve Addabbo. It’s easy to come in with cynicism toward yet another mining of Buckley’s catalog, but hearing him coo on Bob Dylan’s “Just Like a Woman” is quick reminder of Buckley’s power to silence a room. …..” –Consequence of Sound
As critics and fans alike sift over and listen to these new tracks, we’re left wondering is this the end or might there be still more undiscovered treasures. For now, we have Jeff Buckley’s ”You and I’ and you can stream the album in its entirety below.