Saturday, August 30, 2014

My September Soundtrack



 Summer in New York City in 2002 was still a lost time. I was still living blocks from the pit that was once the sprawling World Trade Center. I slept with constant light into my window from the diminishing piles that once towered over Church Street. We were still numb beyond hurt.

That hot summer, I turned to Bruce Springsteen and wondered what he could offer. The Rising has since been my album of therapy. It is my reminder of so many things: that I cannot look at a crisp, azure September sky and not think about that day; that soon not many will remember what life was like before Tuesday, September 11th; it reminds me of loneliness in the months before I met my fated husband; and it reminds me of smiles we will never see greet us again.

Many songs on the album directly relate to our feelings, our heroes, our losses and confusion after 9/11. Things that people wanted to say, but didn't know how. Whatever your feelings of Bruce Springsteen may be, this album was from the heart and for us.

And while the world is as scary as ever, let us remember how we pulled together on those terrifying days. Don't forget the sacrifices so many have made since that day - in the name of our freedom and our security.


Lord, take me where you want me to go, let me meet who you want me to meet, tell me what you want me to say, and keep me out of your way
~Father Mychal Judge, FDNY Chaplain


Lonesome Day
Hell's brewin' dark sun's on the rise
This storm'll blow through by and by
House is on fire, Viper's in the grass
A little revenge and this too shall pass
This too shall pass, I'm gonna pray
Right now all I got's this lonesome day
Into the Fire 
I need your kiss, but love and duty called you someplace higher
Somewhere up the stairs into the fire
 
Waitin' on a Sunny Day
It's rainin' but there ain't a cloud in the sky
Musta been a tear from your eye
Everything'll be okay

 
Nothing Man
I don't remember how I felt
I never thought I'd live
To read about myself
In my hometown paper
How my brave young life
Was forever changed
In a misty cloud of pink vapor

 
Countin' on a Miracle
I'm runnin' through the forest
With this wolf at my heels
My king is lost at midnight
When the tower bells peal
We've got no fairytale ending
In God's hands our fate is complete
Your heaven's here in my heart
Our love's this dust beneath my feet

 
Empty Sky
I woke up this morning
I could barely breathe
Just an empty impression
In the bed where you used to be
I want a kiss from your lips
I want an eye for an eye
I woke up this morning to the empty sky
 

 
You're Missing 
God's drifting in heaven, devil's in the mailbox
I got dust on my shoes, nothing but teardrops 


The Rising 
Can't see nothin' in front of me
Can't see nothin' coming up behind
I make my way through this darkness
I can't feel nothing but this chain that binds me
Lost track of how far I've gone
How far I've gone, how high I've climbed

On my back's a sixty pound stone
On my shoulder a half mile line

Come on up for the rising
Com on up, lay your hands in mine
Come on up for the rising
Come on up for the rising tonight

Left the house this morning
Bells ringing filled the air
Wearin' the cross of my calling
On wheels of fire I come rollin' down here


But there is one more that reminds me of healing ... and remembering. Thank you U2








 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Monday, August 25, 2014

And Now for Something Completely Different: Impossible Cities

 
Friend and Bay Ridge (by way of New Jersey) musician Dan Avery introduced me to Anna Gordon who in turn introduced me to this band today: Impossible Cities. I was asked to take a listen and possibly get the word about them. And you know what - I am so glad this happened. They are unique -- and by unique, I mean that their songs do not sound the same or that they are not trying to sound like someone else. BRAVO Impossible Cities.

So why should you listen to their four song EP? Because I told you that you should!
Let's break down Sunset Years:

Sunset Years
I felt at first like I was tumbling - the first notes are unique, and at one point I thought they captured the sound of the feeling of falling down the stairs. And then you hear lead singer Daniel Tornatore's voice. I hope no one is offended by this but his voice reminds me of one half of Loggins and Messina ... and no one knows who Messina is. You don't expect this voice when you hear those stumbling first notes and it is a good surprise. It's an amalgam of sounds of different genres of music, from jam to jazzy blues to a hint of classic rock.

That Won't Do
This is stop and go, up and down song with tight playing. I would love to hear this song live - make it so, Impossible Cities. This song also plays to my love of the bass - thank you for giving Alex some breathing room on this song.


Through the Rain to the Woods
This one begins with a Grateful Dead meets Doors sound. This is the song we'll hear on Sirius XM Spectrum - you heard my prediction here first. It's catchy and jammy without trying to be.

Your Night
And this is the "something completely different." I cannot believe I am saying this but, I am. These are very Jeff Buckley riffs - and it works for this song without being kitschy . (If you know my love of Jeff Buckley, you know I just paid you the biggest compliment in the universe and beyond). Love the lyrics - Did I ruin your good time? Did I ruin your good night?

Please, check them out. For a three member band, they have big sound. They also have a uniqueness that isn't too common. While I love a band like Mumford or Imagine Dragons - their songs all sound the same for the most part. Impossible Cities has four unique, individual songs here - and I look forward to hearing more from them!

http://impossiblecities.bandcamp.com/releases




Daniel Tornatore - Guitar and Vocals
Alex Ziatyk - Bass
Thomas DeVinko - Drums and Recording

A Man Who Knew the Blues Too Well


"He just sort of kicked everybody's ass and nobody seemed to fight back," Jimmie remembered. "Stevie was on a cloud or something." Buddy Guy didn't know where it was coming from, just that whatever Stevie was doing worked a strange number on even him. "I had goose bumps," he said.  August 26, 1990 Alpine Valley Wisconsin

Twenty four years ago, on a foggy summer night, Stevie played at the  Alpine Valley Amphitheatre in Wisconsin  before boarding a helicopter just after midnight that would never land at its final destination. Stevie left this world at the top of his game. He played the last song of that night with his heroes, Eric Clapton, Buddy Guy, Robert Cray and his brother Jimmie. He played the last song of his life surrounded by guitar players who would soon revere him as one of the best blues guitar players that ever lived.

Stevie Ray, I believe, was so good at playing the blues because he'd been to hell and came back to tell the world about it. He overcame addictions and a broken heart and was proud to tell anyone that God got him through it. He  believed that music could heal - that music was a part of everyone's soul. I think that is so true.

For me, it's personal. It's also been twenty four years since my dad passed, and Stevie Ray helped me stay strong through tough days at the hospital and nights when the house seemed so empty and life so alone. You could hear the heartbreak, soul and passion in Stevie's guitar. Tin Pan Alley, Rivera Paradise and Lenny speak for him. Life Without You  was my song of mourning, You Better Leave My Little Girl Alone was my security blanket and  Riviera Paradise was my song of meditation.

I think that saddest part about Stevie's death, was that he thought he had made it from the bottom, from where he should have died. He was clean, in love and playing the best he had ever played. He won the dance with the devil - only to be taken away to be with the angels.

I wish I had seen him play, to hear those notes sing in person, to watch his hands blur with the speed at which he played his emotions on his guitar Number 1. I cannot believe it has been so long since that day. I still cannot believe what emotions his music still brings to me, what memories they provoke.

Thank you, Stevie Ray Vaughan. You have unwittingly become a legend, one of the best blues guitarists that ever lived, an inspiration to those who face addictions and want to recover. To memorialize you, over 100 scholarships  have been made possible for students who want music education in the Dallas area through events attended by fans such as myself. You will always be remembered.

Thank you for sharing your gift of music with us - we will never forget you.


"In the song 'Tick Tock,' he sings the refrain, 'Remember.' And what Stevie was trying to tell me, and I guess all of us.. he was trying to tell me, 'Nile, remember my music. Remember how important music is to all of us. And just remember that it's a gift.' Stevie was truly touched by the hand of God. He had a powerful gift. And through his music he can'make us all remember things that are very, very important, like love and family. " ~ Nile Rodgers

 

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Whole Lotta Love

 
 
 He is the quintessential rock god and August 20th is his birthday! Happy 66th Robert Plant. Robert Anthony Plant from an early age loved music, Elvis in particular. How fitting that the future god of rock would idolize not just the man himself, but the music at such an early age. Both were heavily influenced by the American Blues. And both have achieved cult icon status for their own reasons.
But what is it about this man that I love so? First, you have the rock n roll, debauchery,  blonde hair, Norse god that projected his greatness into many a woman's (and many a man's) heart and dreams. His voice poetic and dreamy. He made loving Tolkien cool, mentioning Mordor, the ring, and even Gollum in some of Zepps most famous songs. From 1968 - 1980, he was the best lead singer of any rock and roll band.
While many Zep fans mourned the loss of John Bonham, Plant seemed to love music too much and went solo - leaving the tight pants behind (damn).
The Robert Plant that emerged was not the swaggering Norseman of the 70's but a cool, refreshing, but still smoking hot, seasoned musician looking to try out some new sounds. What we got were some of the classic 80's hits, Big Log, Ship of Fools, In the Mood, and from the Honeydripper experiment, Sea of Love. While his music was not as rock and roll, it was still mysterious and artful. Even as he has evolved from solo, to tour with Jimmy Page, and to his last three bands, The Strange Sensation, Band of Joy, and Sensational Space Shifters, he has ignored the requests for a Zeppeling reunion. Thankfully! I admire Robert for saying simply, that music isn't me anymore. Let's face it, he doesn't need the money. He does sing those songs, but in his own way. His new music is soulful, colorful, and mystical.
 
I've seen my rock god several times, at Bonnaroo, concerts, on David Letterman, and on Jimmy Fallon. What I loved about that show in particular was how Jimmy looked like a kid, smiling and sitting is his chair ready to freak at any minute that he was sitting next to Robert Plant. I'm sure Mr. Plant is used to this behavior by now - but he does not dwell in the fact kind of like he might have in the 70's - we all remember this photo: 

 He openly loves music, its sound and rhythm and the history of music. His love of African music is so evidently clear going back to when Page and Plant performed in Morocco and their song from Walking Into Clarksdale, Most High.  
But it simply is not the fandom that has been inspired by Robert, his list of fellow musicians that he has inspired is extremely impressive: Freddy Mercury, Axel Rose, and Jeff Buckley are just three who claim Plant was the equivalent of Grimm Fairytales and the Joe DiMaggio of their musical dreams.  
 
 
"And ode to life and love and the fragile adventure you set out upon unknowingly and unwittingly." Robert Plant on Lullably and the Ceaseless Roar
 
 
Discography of Robert Plant - solo
Pictures at Eleven (1982)
The Principle of Moments (1983)
Shaken 'n' Stirred (1985)
Now and Zen (1988)
Manic Nirvana (1990)
Fate of Nations (1993)
Dreamland (2002)
Mighty ReArranger (2005)
Band of Joy (2010)
Lullaby and... The Ceaseless Roar (2014)
Collaborative albums
The Honeydrippers: Volume One (1984) (with Jimmy Page and Jeff Beck)
No Quarter Unledded (1994) (with Jimmy Page)
Walking Into Clarksdale (1998) (with Jimmy Page)
Raising Sand (2007) (with Alison Krauss)

 
Prospect Park (c) PCarlson 2013
 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Sunday, August 17, 2014

There's no booze, there's no broads, there's no action!

My father (r) with some of the locals


Big Joe: There's no booze, there's no broads, there's no action!
Captain Maitland: That's another thing - don't fool around with the women. Their husbands carry guns. And don't forget, the penalty for looting is death.
Big Joe: Loot what? There's nothing here to loot!
 ~Kelly's Heroes



Time and again, you've seen me post about my dad, Paul, who fought in World War II. I only remember one story, if you could even call it that.  The German's attacked their sleeping billets on New Year's Even. New Year's Eve, always reminds of this photo and how much I didn't know about my father. I do remember that he always reserved New Year's night to himself.  While I spoke to my Uncle George when I was about 12, I vaguely remember anything he actually told me. No, I didn't write it down. He was also in my father's unit, the 310th Signal Corps Battalion, Company

A. This year I was able to receive some more information about my father's service and the medals he had received. I knew he had fought in the Battle of the Bulge, but nothing else. He had received medals for combat in Northern France and Germany. Scouring the internet, I have found few that knew anyone in the 310. I have pictures galore and even the Company yearbook, but your mind starts to think about what else is out there.

 I have photos of them playing cards, posing, and eating. I have wondered if there are more photos out there and have taken to twitter, pinterest, and facebook looking, I have scoured the interwebs and come up, usually with the same thing.
Until one day...

Someone had posted about a lost camera found in Belgium, left from a World War II soldier. On it, photos from the Battle of the Bulge! I looked immediately for this post and found soon, it was a hoax and someone just doctored up some photos already in WWII archives. However, one photo caught my eye. It couldn't be? It looked like my father.

After some fact finding, buying a book, and contacting the National Archives, this is what I found: Photo 197920 - Infantrymen 'sweat out' heavy enemy shelling as they wait in cellar of building in Duren, Germany, 12/15/44.

I know my father. That, I swear is my father, second from the bottom, holding a rifle sitting on the steps in a cellar, the day before the official Battle of the Bulge began. Now, you if you go back up to the photo of the man killed on New Year's Eve, I do believe that is the same man.

If this truly is a photo of my father, sitting in a cellar in one of the worst battles the European front fought, it makes me even more proud than I was before. I have been given a gift of one more moment in my father's life, even though it might just be one of the most terrifying of his. He was single, a coal miner and a forestry worker from Bakerton, Pa. His two other brothers landed in Normandy on D+3 and D+10, while his other brother was somewhere else in this house I assume, since they were in the same unit.

From a mere chance of looking at an article that turned out to be sadly a hoax, I was given a gift that I could never have paid for.







Tuesday, August 12, 2014

I'll tell you my sins and you can sharpen your knife


 
For 24 years old, Hozier has a lot of old soul. I’m sure this has much to do with the fact that not only is his father a musician, but he was raised on the blues. He hasn’t even released an entire album yet, but this Irish singing wonder has stirred curiosity from his single Take Me to Church. The first I head it, I thought it was either a very young Elton John or someone covering Elton. The kid has talent and heart. He is also going the non-traditional breakthrough route, and beginning with a jab at the Catholic Church, both verbally and visually. This gospel-esque song, in essence, is about sex. But the song is about sex with religious undertones. His song, Take Me to Church, challenges the lies and hypocrisy that many feel about the Church. The video too challenges homophobia, a strong statement from someone who didn't even have a record deal at the time. Bravo.
If the Heavens ever did speak
She is the last true mouthpiece
Every Sunday's getting more bleak
A fresh poison each week

 

Do yourself a favor and check out Hozier. His two EP's Take Me To Church and Eden are widely available. But of course, don't expect a repeat of Take Me To Church, songs such as Like Real People Do and Angel of Small Death have completely different tones. It's refreshing that he doesn't have one sound that he re-created for each song. November 5th at Irving Plaza can't come soon enough. Looking forward to hearing these songs and his new album live!


 
Take Me to Church- EP
    Take Me To Church
      Like Real People Do
     Angel of Small Death & the Codeine Scene
     Cherry Wine

Eden – EP
    From Eden
    Work Song
    Arsonists Lullaby
    To Be Alone

Saturday, August 9, 2014

The Quest for the McGonagalls and Katt Island




Seaside Park has a long history of being a venue for concerts. When the idea of Sunday concerts "for the benefit of the working people" was proposed in 1890, many neighboring residents opposed the plan, but Barnum, whose own home abutted the park, championed the cause in the local papers. When there was talk of police interference at the first concert, Barnum told the band leader to come play at his home and that the grounds would be open to all who wanted to hear the music. source - Wikipedia

I had been waiting since March for this music festival. The Gathering of the Vibes has been a music mecca since 1996 in Seaside Park in Bridgeport, Ct. The park lends itself to the awesome vibes even before you step foot into the festival. PT Barnum donated land for Seaside Park in 1895 and wanted to give back to the working class and promoted music for their enjoyment. The festival itself welcomes music lovers from everywhere.

The day had finally come to drive less than two hours to set up our camp for four days. Of course we made the most of three hour wait to be checked into camping. Our favorite
caravan was the McGonagall family from the Midwest. Cousins, brothers, sisters and their parents (who stayed at a hotel) all made the trip enjoy the festival. Even their Chilean friend joined them. Secretly, I was hoping we would be camped next to them, but alas we would separate and I would look for them all weekend long.

Sweet Jane my coffee queen - this stand was a saving grace
I digress though. We had the most awesome, amazing, and truly unique neighbors once we were sent to our camp area. To our right, we had a sweet, glittery twirl girl who was not going to let us leave without getting us to wear something sparkly. To our left, the incredible camping family - who I think will be the last ones standing if the power grid ever fails. And seriously, I want them as neighbors - I love them. I can see a sit com happening right now.  We all set up our tents, tables, cooking areas and then finally relaxed for our adventure. Lucky, we were very close to a real shower facility, the sound, and the most famous coffee spot in the park. 

We strolled along the Sound and entered the festival area, complete with smaller stages, food venues, and arts and craft areas. From the start, the first responders were blended well into the crowd. Throughout the festival, their presence was very welcomed. All weekend, I didn't see one fight, one out of control moment - but we did witness them at work  (that story shortly).

We began our musical journey with our friends from Dark Star Orchestra. We kicked back and relaxed - and I got my
favorite song they cover: Chinacat  / I Know You Rider. The festival had been a long time coming and it was time off the hubby and I both needed - so around midnight, after dozing off for a minute or 20, we headed back to our campsite.  Now, the music goes almost round the clock, so as we chatted and got ready for bed, the sounds of the stages drifted along the sound, creating a musical quilt for everyone. Because we had over 15 hours of music ahead of us the next day, I tucked myself in. As I was drifting to sleep in the early hours of August 1st, someone in another aisle of tents exclaimed, "It's Jerry's Birthday!" The light bulb had been turned on. Jerome John "Jerry" Garcia, was born on August 1st 1942. And what is one of my favorite Vibe moments, a chorus of Happy Birthday, Jerry! floated around the campsite.

My new best friend Jane, my coffee angel and I met around 9 am that Friday. With my extra dark, two turbo shot iced coffee in hand, I headed for a morning swim in the Sound. The tide was out so I had a bit of a
The glowfish, the national fish of my Island.
Thank you neighbors and A for your talent!
walk to a sand island off shore. Once I was sure I was the first to conquer this little mound of sand, I turned to my left to see in giant letters Katts Island. Damn it. Well, Katt, you abandoned your post and didn't use an apostrophe so I reclaimed it and named in McGonagall Island. After a refreshing swim, it was time to begin a day of music!

Keller Williams played some Grateful Dead bluegrass to get everyone into the second day of the festival on the main stage. This was also the day that the costumes began to become more elaborate. Stilt walkers, fairy's and men in rainbow outfits began to appear. My own neighbor looked like a glam circus ring leader, complete with gold glitter skin paint.

Before Trombone Shorty began is soulful jamming, the Funky Dawgs lead a crowd into the main area, like funkadelic pied pipers leading the faithful to church. Music was indeed all around. The weather was holding, the sun was shinning, and everyone was singing. And for the Carlsons, there was still nine hours of music left!

If you have not heard of Joe Russo's Almost Dead, and you happen to like the Grateful Dead but with a twist, check them out. Made up of Joe Russo, Marco Benevento, Scott Metzger, Tommy Hamilton, and Dave Dreiwitz,they put real jam and more of a rock sound into classic dead tunes. While we were listening to some JRAD, we got a surprise visit from our friend and musician Christopher Robin! Love music festival reunions.

 

After a food break and a change of clothes for the night, it was time for John Fogerty! Yes, Creedence Clearwater Revival John Fogerty! And I was able to hear one of my favorite Creedence songs, As Long as I Can See the Light. To go in 180 completely different degrees, next up was the Philly band, Lotus, performing their favorite Talking Head songs - with guest singer Gabriel Otto dressed as David Byrne. I kid you not, it was a highlight. I did wonder how many "kids" had no idea that Lotus was copying anyone.
Deep Banana Blackout would send us into slumber, just as the rain started and the first night of the Silent Disco began.

To be able to sleep in, in a tent, in the rain is a blessing. I had overly needed this vacation away from work, blackberries, and meetings. After a refreshing shower, it was time to watch Assembly of Wine for breakfast. As we downed our first cups of coffee and the sun began to shine, the mashup of God Street Wine and Assembly of Dust jammed out some tunes and got our music souls awake. We also jammed to some LeftoverSalmon, making Saturday's morning lineup sound like a bad meal. But Saturday was a big day. But what made it even more special was WE FOUND THE MCGONNAGALS!!!! And we learned the universal symbol for list McGonnagal, so I use it now randomly. Umphrey's McGee, Widespread Panic and Disco Biscuits were playing so some rest was to be had after AoW. Rest, as in some beermosas and such back at the compound.

Now, to that law enforcement story I referenced before. So the hubby and our new friends were sitting around chatting about Italian Pirates, the monk that showed up with a picture they've been searching for, and
debating if glitter tattoos were the gateway to sparkles...we all swore someone ran through our camp site. Hmm, odd. Anyone back to the convesa...wait another? That is a cop! As we all begin to stand, more cops converge on the area behind us. The neighbors also converge and then we all notice the mounted unit also has shown. After some whispering and gossiping and waiting for the paddy wagon to show following a warrant, the man whose luck ran out was going to be taken away. Well there goes the neighborhood!

Finally it was time for some Umphrey's McGee. Time and again, they amaze me with their mashups and jams. This was no different because I was able to hear a nice 1348 and Hajimemashite. But before Widespread began, I was on a mission. Thanks to a purchase at the merch booth, yours truly was going to a meet and greet with the band. Highlight: Getting my Terrible Towel signed by the band!!!





Skipping with joy as we heard the first notes of Tall Boy, Widespread Panic did deliver for their Saturday night performance. I confess I used to think John Bell had a scary voice. I dog the voice now, but I still can understand a word the man is saying.

Disco Biscuits rounded out the night with members of the Grateful Dead. As well as our friend Christopher Robin and Jennifer Durkin of Deep Banana Blackout along with some very soulful singers, mastered a wonderful version of We Bid You Goodnight.

So sad, our festival was almost over. Around 2 am, the rockets began to red glare. Literally. Our poor neighbor was almost bowled over by a firework that fell on it's side. Outside of our tent was some trippy Bladerunner world. Glad neighbor has quick reflexes.

Sunday was spent packing up but waiting for more music as well by moe., Ziggy Marley, and Dispatch. The first thing to do, after coffee of course, was to cook all the food and feed our neighbors. Admittedly, some had not slept or eaten (we assume) for a few days. It was the right thing to do. As we ate our barbeque and had some beer, I had a Forrest Gump moment. A few Chinook helicopters flew over and I couldn't resist: Now they told us that Vietnam was gonna be different from the United States of America, accept for all the beer cans and the barbeque, it was. It was nice to just sit around and talk about music, life, and tell funny stories.

When we all parted for moe. and everyone was all packed (and the vehicles were re-charged) it was pretty much decided that we would all see each other again - no matter which coast. We were truly blessed with the most awesome of camp neighbors, who helped these kids from Brooklyn who lack basic camping skills.

I can assure anyone, that the Vibes is definitely a family friendly event. In fact, I did witness a couple of kids taking care of their parents. In all seriousness, the Vibes lives up to its name. It is a place full of positive, fun, music loving people.
 


Twenty Years of Grace

Grace cover photo by Merri Cyr Brooklyn 1993
 
Grace is basically a death prayer. Not something of sorrow but just casting away any fear of death. No relief will come, you'll really just have to stew in your life until it's time to go. But sometimes, somebody else's faith in you can do wonders. ~Jeff Buckley  

There are not many musicians that I can say " I remember the first time I heard them." In a gym on a June Thursday morning in Sydney Australia, I heard a voice that would forever change my life. As I ran on the treadmill, Hallelujah played on the TV. A voice has never affected my soul as much as Jeff Buckley's.
 
Within two hours, I was listening to Grace. While it was released on August 23, 1994, it was only mainstream in Australia at the time. Grace wouldn't achieve its crowning glory until, sadly, Jeff died in 1997. However, Grace was not his first album. The four song EP Live from Sin-e was the catalyst that put him into the minds of the music executives.  
 
But why is Grace being placed into one of the most influential and best albums of our time? Was it the music? Was it the mysterious Jeff with his storied father? Or was it simply a combination of both? His voice and intricacies of each song have been lauded by many including Bono and Jimmy Page: Technically, he was the best singer that had appeared probably in - I'm not being too liberal about this - if I say, in two decades.
 
So let's break down this album
 
 
Mojo Pin
It's a story about addiction - to a woman or drugs - not sure. Jeff's voice, almost at a whisper welcomes us to this song, tangled with background anonymous sounds and a silent cymbal, before we are hit with heavy guitar riffs. Possibly, this could symbolize the ups and downs of said addiction. 
 
Jeff once said of the song: Sometimes if somebody you feel you need... the whole universe tells you that you have to have her, you start watching her favorite TV shows all night, you start buying her the things she needs, you start drinking her drinks, you start smoking her bad cigarettes, you start picking up her nuances in her voice, you sleep in safe sometimes the most dangerous thing... this is called Mojo Pin." (Astoria, London, UK, 18/01/95).
 
The welts of your scorn, my love, give me more
Send whips of opinion down my back, give me more
Well it's you I've waited my life to see
It's you I've searched so hard for...
 
 
Grace
And the rain is falling and i believe
My time has come
It reminds me of the pain
I might leave
Leave behind
 
Someone once asked me if I had to chose one more song to hear before I leave this plain, what would it be? I answered Grace. They were assuming I would say Stairway, Brokedown Palace, or something else profound, but Grace is my song. It shows readiness and, ironically enough, Grace to face the destiny that we all have and the journey we take to reach it.

I will let Jeff explain:
It's about not fearing death, or fearing any of those countless slings and arrows that you suffer sometimes on this earth, because somebody loves you. You're not afraid to go, you're not afraid to withstand what you need to withstand because there's a tremendous fuel that you feel regenerating inside because of someone else's love for you. That's what Grace is about. And it's just about life sometimes being so long. At the time I was anticipating leaving Los Angeles for New York. So I was waiting to go. I'm not afraid to go, I'm not afraid to die, I'm not afraid to go away from this place or from any place but it just goes so slow. And I had somebody who loved me in New York. A lot. And it was amazing. It still is.  
 
This song has so many layers, clocks, rhythms, acoustic guitars. It is also very eerie how Jeff seemingly accepts his mortality in this song.    
 
 
Last Goodbye
A sadly sweet breakup song. It's the negotiation and pleading just before the final goodbye kiss.
 
Sad, desperate breakup song
This is our last embrace
Must I dream and always see your face?
Why can't we overcome this wall?
Baby, maybe its just because you didn't know you at all

 
 
Lilac Wine
Jeff loved Nina Simone. His cover of this song demonstrates his ability to transcend the rock genre. He would also cover her songs I Loves You Porgy, and Be Your Husband.
 
So Real
This song has that eerie foreshadowing of water. It also gave us a goofy Jeff video that includes gorilla suits, a pre-hipster bike ride through Brooklyn, and a diner scene.
 
And I couldn't awake from the nightmare that sucked me in and pulled me under
Pulled me under
Oh... that was so real
I love you, but I'm afraid to love you
 
 
 
 
Hallelujah
No doubt, Jeff's biggest hit. I have explained my sentiment on the song previously here (see link)
 
 
 
 
Lover, You Should've Come Over
Incredible accordion, harpiscordish beginning, a guilty afterthought to a love lost, possibly due to his own doing.
 
Lonely is the room, the bed is made, the open window lets the rain in
Burning in the corner is the only one who dreams he had you with him
My body turns and yearns for a sleep that will never come
 
 
 
Corpus Christi Carol
Jeff's beautiful take on a medieval song about Christ and his Knight.
 
 
Eternal Life
This song is definitely one of the few "political" songs that shows Jeff's passion for peace and love and his rebuttal of traditional religion.
 
There's no time for hatred, only questions
What is love, where is happiness, what is life, where is peace?
When will I find the strength to bring me release?
Tell me where is the love in what your prophet has said?
Man, it sounds to me just like a prison for the walking dead
I've got a message for you and your twisted hell
You better turn around and blow your kiss goodbye to life eternal

 
Dream Brother
Very haunting and you can feel the influence of Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan, Jeff's spiritual sufi singer influence. It is a song to Jeff's friend, his dream brother, about leaving his pregnant girlfriend. It is one of the first songs where Jeff seemingly references his absent father, singer Tim Buckley.
 
 
Don't be like the one who made me so old
Don't be like the one who left behind his name
'Cause they're waiting for you like I waited for mine
And nobody ever came
 
 
 
Songs added in re-release
Forget Her
Such a heartbreaking song, even more so the story behind it. Jeff never wanted this song released. It is about his relationship with another singer. Sadly, she heard it. It is one of my favorites (although it could use some more organ and Hammond B3).
 
Well my tears falling down as I try to forget,
Her love was a joke from the day that we met.
All of the words, all of her men,
All of my pain when I think back to when.
 
 
 
Lost Highway
Cover of Leon Payne song done simply with Jeff and guitar ... and a twang.
 
I was just a lad, nearly twenty two
Neither good nor bad, just a kid like you
But now I'm lost, too late to pray
Lord, I paid the cost, on the lost highway
 
Parchman Farm
A Bukka White American blues song about doing time in the Mississippi State Penitentiary
 
 
 In a way, Jeff's short life and music career is exactly what he wanted. I believe the music industry would have destroyed his fragile shell. At one point, after Grace became popular, Jeff would play under other names at small venues.
 
 
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
 
Jeff was once asked how he wanted to be remembered. Besides being a good friend, his only wish was that his music was remembered. Jeff, your wish is our command.
 
 

 
 
He was Plant and Page in one, on a technical level. ~Brad
Pitt on Jeff Buckley
 
 
Please check out Jeff's friend and photographer, Merri Cyr in her book A Wished for Song: A Portrait of Jeff Buckley http://www.amazon.com/Wished--Song-Portrait-Jeff-Buckley-ebook/dp/B005LA9LSG/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1407629488&sr=8-1&keywords=merri+cyr