Jeff Buckley made only one album, but the one he made has proved to be seminal.
In 2019, Backbeat Books will publish 25 Years of Grace: An Anniversary Tribute to Jeff Buckley’s Classic Album, a lavishly illustrated volume by photographer Merri Cyr with Buckley biographer Jeff Apter, recalling the making of Grace and looking at the influence it has had on artists and their music in the ensuing quarter-century.
Cyr, widely recognized as Buckley’s official photographer and author of A Wished-For Song: A Portrait of Jeff Buckley, published by Backbeat Books, documented his career from his days at the East Village coffee shop Sin-é to his iconic Grace cover shoot to his rigorous world tour promoting his unprecedented debut. Apter is the author of A Pure Drop: The Life of Jeff Buckley, also from Backbeat Books.
“I photographed Jeff over the course of almost four years,” Cyr said. “Some people have asked me why it is that I photographed him so much. Mostly, it was fascinating to watch him grow musically at lightning speed, even from one day to the next. I had the opportunity to witness and document his evolution—as a person and an artist.”
25 Years of Grace will feature new interviews with Buckley insiders – including producer Andy Wallace, band mates Matt Johnson and Mick Grøndahl, string arranger Karl Berger, A&R man Steve Berkowitz, and veteran music publicist Howard Wuelfing – who reveal details of Buckley’s signing to a major label, the role of the band in creating arrangements, finding the right creative direction for the multifaceted songsmith, the songwriting process and final song selections, key meetings and collaborations, recording techniques, memorable moments in the studio, and more.
The book also will include reflections about Buckley and Grace from an array of artists, including Lenny Kaye, Butch Walker, Pete Yorn, and Holly Miranda.
“I’ve been fortunate to have been involved in various Jeff Buckley-related projects over the years,” said Apter. “But this has been the first time where not only have all the key players been willing and able to contribute, but in a manner that was, without an exception, frank, open and forthcoming. Their revelations are deeply felt, sometimes highly emotional and always very revealing. Collectively they’ve painted a portrait of Jeff and the Grace era that I think will become the definitive statement on the man and the time.”
Featuring many never-before-seen photographs, the recollections of those who worked alongside Buckley, and tributes by some of the many influenced by him, 25 Years of Grace will take a fresh look at the making and legacy of this incomparable album.
“25 Years of Grace is a celebration of Jeff Buckley’s contribution to music,” explained Backbeat Books Associate Editor Bernadette Malavarca, who acquired the title. “The book brings into sharp focus the timelessness of Grace and gives it its due as a true classic. The interviews peel back the curtain on the events that led to the album and the creative process involved, its reception in the context of its time, and its lasting power. The artist reflections show the widespread influence of Buckley and Grace on countless musicians.
“We are fairly deep into the text development, photo editing, and design plans,” Malavarca added. “It’s been an inspiring experience thus far, and with the book, we hope to invoke that same inspiration in readers and Buckley fans who revere his music as we do.”
Additional components of the project will be announced in the coming months. 25 Years of Grace will be published in Fall 2019.