ROCK Jeff Buckley

On Thursday 29 May 1997, while working on his long- delayed second album, Jeff Buckley made a riverside stop on his way to the studio. He walked in to the muddy Mississippi to cool off and relax, and was last seen swimming on his back, singing to the sky.

Such a tragic exit at the age of 31 seems emblematic. Buckley‘s own father, folk- singer Tim Buckley died in 1975 from an overdose. Most of Jeff Buckley's stunning 1994 debut album Grace refers to death or loss, and in the first wave of shock after his death, suicide seemed a possibility.

But in the light of Sketches (For My Sweetheart The Drunk), the posthumous double album which is just about to be released on Columbia, the inventiveness and experimentation he displayed shows he had everything to live for. The album emerges from a background as mysterious and murky as the Mississippi. Buckley is rumoured to have been unhappy with the work of producer Tom Verlaine (ex-Television) on the Grace follow-up. He had threatened to burn the masters and was about to start from scratch with former Grace producer Andy Wallace.

Jeff’s mother, Mary Guilbert, helped compile the double album. The first disc features the ten Verlaine- produced tracks, mixed by Wallace; the second contains sketches of work in progress, picked out by her from an


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Jeff Buckley: state of grace

immense volume of unrecorded material. ‘As we began to listen to the four-tracks, we knew that this first release after his death would be incomplete without the songs he'd been composing for the upcoming sessions,‘ says Guilbert. 'Our goal was to leave Jeff‘s work as close to the way he left it as we could.’

The polished first CD contrasts with the rough experimentation of the second. The first has hints of Grace: the contemplative, yearning voice on ‘Morning Theft', the soaring, vulnerable vocals and harmonic guitar of ‘Opened Once'. But much of the CD reaches out to new influences: the laid-back soul of ’Everybody Here Wants You‘; Arabic exotica in ‘New Years Prayer'; grunge bleakness in ‘Yard Of Blond Girls‘ and ‘Nightmares By The Sea‘; the unaccompanied acoustic eeriness of ‘You And I‘.

By comparison, CD two is rough and rocky, and weirdly experimental. But anyone who was ever captured by Buckley’s pure, sinuous voice, packed with emotion, raw and powerful, delicate and tough, tragic yet hopeful, will not be disappointed. They can also look forward to the future release of Australian concert recordings and Grace and Live At Sin-é out-takes. (Gabe Stewart)

3 Sketches (For My Sweetheart The Drunk) is released on Columbia on Mon 7 7 May. Tickets for a sneak preview of the album at Fopp in Edinburgh and Glasgow on Fri 7 May at 8pm and 7.30pm respectively, are available in advance from Fopp

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Anam Edinburgh: Pleasance Theatre, Thu 7

Anam: clocked up more air miles than most

Recorded at Fish's studio in East Lothian, mastered in Tokyo, and released worldwrde next week, Riptide is Anam’s second album since signing for multinational JVC. Adding to the band’s basic strings-With-accordron- and-bodhran instrumental line-up, the new album has a guest list of top talent Including Shooglenifty skinman James Mackintosh, Tannahill's bowman John Martin, Phil Bancroft's Jazz sax, Deaf Shepherd's whistle player Rory Campbell, and mootliie maestro Rory MacLeod (now engaged to Anam singer Amiee Leonard).

A pan-Celtic‘folk foursome from Ireland, Newfowrdland, Orkney and Cornwall ~ Anam are only too glad to get off the road for a few days as they are in the middle of a massive world tour. Songwriter, Singer and gurtarist Brian 0 hEadhra, though appreciating the great promotional power of the marketing and management behind the band, insists ’that the music must come first. This last tour was a monster, and we Just had to keep going but now we've talked it over and we’re gorng to reprioritise ~

downscale the length of time were away.’

While not wanting to bite the hand that feeds them, he feels that 'it’s important to stay sane and sustain norma| relationships. It does help that we travel With a laptOp and keep in touch using e-mail, but we're all aware that we need some more space to pursue our own interests. We have learned a lot over the last year though, and the band has become much more focused.’

'Nerl (Davey) has been a major influence since he iorned. He’s an extremely profiCient mUSlClali, who’s always been into Eastern European, African and World music and he’s one of the best mandolin players around. He's brought a technicality and a flurdity into the band’s music.’

And highlights of the trip? ’Well, we’re not really into cities. The best part of America was being in the Redwood forest in California, and the tropical rainforest in Australia meeting Aboriginal musmrans, and Maori singers in New Zealand.’ (Norman Chalmers)

preview MUSIC

ROCK Heather Nova Glasgow: Cathouse, Sat 16 May.

Everybody has a guardian angel, right? Even rock 'n' roll artists. Sadly Heather Nova’s Winged protector must have been enjoying forty winks somewhere between London and Hamburg as she toured to promote her new album Siren. 'I don’t know how it happened,‘ she says, ’but there we were at two o’clock in the morning standing in a ditch by the side of the motorway with the bus in flames. A new episode for Spinal Tap!’

Luckily nothing precious was lost. Not even a drummer. ’The fire department arrived in time to put it out, but the whole of the back of the bus was gone. The fire was JUSI reaching the instruments and the flight cases were melted. We opened them up and the guitars were still hot inside, but we managed to salvage our eighteenth century cello.’

Phew. Such are the Scooby Doo adventures of Heather Nova, the Bermuda born songstress who dislikes the lazy pigeon-holing of female artists. Quite right too, although in all unfairness Sheryl Crow may be one useful reference point. ’Someone who I really felt a connection with,’ counters Heather, 'was Jeff Buckley. It’s sad that you always Just get compared to other women.’

’I love playing music,’ she continues. ’You play a gig and you think “Yeah! I’m so glad I’m on the road.” Then the next day you think “Oh shit! Iwanna go home, I'm tired and my clothes smell." It’s an up and down life.’

A true woman of the world, having grown up on her parents’ sailboat in the West Indies, Heather studied filmmaking before discovering music was her calling. And despite her last LP Oyster selling 700,000 copies, she remains a reluctant star. ’l’m shy if I have to speak to the audience,’ she explains, ’I write songs about things I could never talk about. It's the magic of music that you can lose yourself. If I couldn’t do that I’d be thinking what the fuck am I doing up here!’ (Rodger Evans)

Heather Nova: she's shy really.

30 Apr—14 May 1998 THE usrsa