In Europe, they speak of him in holy whispers. In America, he’s a mysterious footnote. Amazing Grace: Jeff Buckley, a documentary film, explores the phenomenon that is Jeff Buckley.
A coffeehouse chanteur, who made a name for himself covering Edith Piaf and Judy Garland in a tiny candlelit venue on the Lower East side of Manhattan, Jeff Buckley was signed by Colombia Records in the early 90’s. Columbia thought of him from the beginning as the next of what they would call their “heritage” artists. They hoped he would become their next Miles Davis, Bob Dylan, Bruce Springsteen . . . Buckley seemed on his way to fulfilling that promise with Grace, the only finished full-length studio album of his career. Critics raved and his fan base grew, but as he was set to record his second studio album, a tragic accident ended Buckley’s life. He was 30 years old.
Impossible to classify, Jeff Buckley’s four-octave voice and songs of unchecked passion and pain traverse the worlds of rock, soul, blues, gospel, folk, and torch. Though Jeff exploded onto the music scene in Europe and Australia, giving rise to a rabid cult following in the states, he never broke through American commercial radio—then dominated by Seattle grunge. Some say America just wasn’t ready for Jeff Buckley. Not yet.
First-time filmmakers, Nyla Bialek Adams and Laurie Trombley, take another listen in Amazing Grace: Jeff Buckley. This passionately crafted film investigates the unusual, if not extraordinary, phenomenon of Jeff Buckley—a deceased musician of modest commercial success, with only one full-length album, who became a veritable tour de force of inspiration for artists of all kinds. The film asks the burning question: what is the mysterious source of power behind Jeff’s inspirational reach? Revelations are found at the heart of Jeff Buckley’s legacy—his fans.
Interviews include all four of the Jeff Buckley Band members, friends, family, colleagues, critics, DJ’s, producers, and fans. Performances and outtakes have been culled from the warehouse archives of Columbia Records. From Sydney, New York, and London to Memphis, Montpellier, and Los Angeles, the film takes viewers on an expansive yet incredibly intimate trip through the world of Jeff Buckley, a musician who still inspires his fans—from classical composers to rock n’ roll superstars and everyone in-between.