Today marks the 15th anniversary of one of our generation’s great musical losses. Singer-Songwriter Jeff Buckley drowned in Tennessee’s Wolf River with only only studio record release, the brilliant debut Grace. Posthumously, Sketches For My Sweetheart The Drunk, a double-album collection of unreleased studio tracks and four-track demos was released in 1998 as well as the 4 song EP, Live at Sin-é in 1993. In his tragically short recording career, Buckley left behind a legacy, not only influencing a new generation of artists, but inspiring songs written about him, including those by Cocteau Twins, PJ Harvey and Duncan Sheik.
Buckley’s mother, Mary Guibert keeps her son’s legacy alive, unearthing lost gems, web posts, tributes and the Golden Promise. In her 1997 Eulogy, Guibert spoke;
“Clearly, this young man touched countless lives with his vitality and humanity. The absence of this being from our little planet is a tragic loss for everyone, if we consider his musical talent alone. Thank God we have the music and his recordings to console us. What we have lost by way of his tenderness and soulfulness is beyond measure, and cannot be replaced…unless, perhaps, each of us makes a Golden Promise to act on his behalf from this day forward. A Golden Promise is one that must never be broken. It is made in one’s heart to another heart that’s just departed this life. Look into your soul and find a Promise you can keep that would make this world a better place, even if just for a moment. Commit “random acts of kindness and senseless acts of beauty”… demonstrate the courage to follow your bliss.And if, when you go to that silent, certain place in your heart, you find there a Promise you can make that gives you a higher purpose in life, then make the strongest vow you’ve ever made and maybe, just maybe, together we’ll be able to repair the damage done to this lowly little world by the untimely passing of this gentle minstrel.”
Today, in his remembrance, Guibert asks fans to light a candle and make today the day the exercise their Golden Promise, in remembrance of her son, stating;
“Lighting candles and sharing how much we miss him are very comforting and inspiring, and the conscious act of doing something supremely humane is the best way for him to be remembered I can think of.”
Watch the video for one of Buckley’s most enduring tracks, his chilling cover of Leonard Cohen’s Hallelujah.