Musicians that die young remain frozen in a golden past, immune to the harsh rust of time. When Jeff Buckley walked into the Mississippi in 1997, he entered with all of his yet unwritten songs, and they all died with him in that river. We thought we’d never again hear new Buckley material.
And now here we are in 2016 getting a “new” Jeff Buckley record. You and I is largely a product of chance. In preparation for the 20th Anniversary release of Buckley’s chef d’oeuvre Grace, Sony discovered a bevy of unreleased material—enough to compile a ten-track LP. Over the past two months, the musician’s camp has revealed a cover of Bob Dylan’s “Just Like a Woman” and a wistful music video cover of the Smiths’ “I Know It’s Over”—two of those “new” songs. The track is included on You and I alongside six other covers. Buckley also takes on Zeppelin and Sly & The Family Stone, and you can listen to them all on NPR’s First Listen.
The record also includes two originals, one being the quasi title track, “Dream of You and I.” “This is based on some music that I heard in a dream,” prefaces Buckley in the beginning of the song. “It’s going to be called ‘You and I’ because that’s what the people in the dream were saying.” Throughout the song, the singer-songwriter plays guitar while detailing his dream. He recalls people gathered into a college auditorium for an AIDS rally, all while a “spacey deadhead band” played on stage.
The other original is the first-ever studio recording of “Grace.” It’s so raw and visceral that it feels like Buckley is standing in the room with you. One more thing we thought could never happen again—outside of a dream, anyways.
IMAGE: Sony Music