Sound — 8
Legacy Recordings/Sony Music has released Grace Around The World, a CD/DVD set that celebrates the 15th Anniversary of singer-songwriter-guitarist Jeff Buckley's internationally acclaimed record, Grace. Produced by his mother, Mary Guibert and featuring live recordings of some of Buckley's fan favorites such as So Real, his rendition of Leonard Cohen's Hallelujah, and the main attraction Grace taken from Buckley's taping for the BBC Late Sho in London, England, Grace Around The World condenses Buckley's repertoire to the meatiest choices. In the core of each track is a gospel-rock sonorous which catapulted Buckley to an idol-like status. His songs crisscrosses Pink Floyd's atmospheric-rock with burgs of sizzling guitar riffs reminiscent of Cream, yet his music never sounds retro. The sensual furls of guitarist Michael Tighe have the ambient streaks of Mars Volta, and the coasting grooves of bassist Mick Grondahl and drummer Matt Johnson give the tracks a folksy disposition liken to Radiohead. The volcanic fumes emanating from the quivering guitar vibrations of Mojo Pin curry a deep-fried foliage, while the slow tempo and contemplative drifting of So Real is pot-marked in jagged riffs, hooks with frazzled distortions, and Buckley's signature howls which resonate with the emotion of a wounded animal. The crystal-tint of the guitar inflections rivet a recurring theme throughout the album hovering across songs like What Will You Say and Grace. Buckley's vocals have a tender complexion like in Hallelujah when he reels the listener into its low-lit flames and rafters of ambient vibrations. The Indian-flange in the guitar ripples of Dream Brother rise up so high that they feel like they can clear over mountain-tops, and the taut ridges in the guitar shreds of Eternal Life produce crisp wrinkles blow-torched by smooth melodic grooves. The gospel-stroking and folk-rock grooming of Lilac Wine provide a plush cushion for Buckley's vocals which feel like he is imbibed on love, and the country-twang in the guitar cuts of Last Goodbye blaze an Americana-rock synthesis that is both chic and earthy. The ambient-tilt in Buckley's tracks gives his music a glistening veneer wrapped around a gospelly under-wood making Buckley's songs sound distinctive and relatable to him.
Lyrics — 8
Buckley's lyrics are private reflections noting where improvements in his character need to be made, and keeping positive that life guides one onto the right path like in the song Lover, You Should've Come Over when he reflects, Sometimes a man gets carried away... much too blind to see the damage he's done... will I ever learn? He ponders, Time feels like it has flown away... what will you say when you see my face from the song What Will You Say, and This is our last goodbye from Last Goodbye. Buckley's words make him sound so human reflecting about his flaws, frailty, and need for requited love. He sounds like everyone else in the world only he articulates his emotions better than many of us.
Overall Impression — 8
Grace Around The World additionally features a DVD which includes interviews with Buckley's band members, his family, colleagues, DJ's, producers, critics, fans, and the head of his fan club, Laurie Trombley. The live performances included on the DVD were shot around the world taped in New York, London, Frankfurt, and Chicago. The CD/DVD set chronicles Buckley at his peak, and what the social conditions were like at the time which made people gravitate to his music. His songs touched a chord in audiences that still has relevance today. It is music that has staying power embedded in the global psyche and suffices the need to be nurtured by positive messages. The compilation shows why Jeff Buckley's music was so attractive 15 years ago, and still is today.