re­dis­cov­ered grace

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Jeff Buck­ley

You And I

Sony

THOUGH ithas been nearly two decades since Jeff Buck­ley ac­ci­den­tally drowned in a Mem­phis river, his in­flu­ence may be more widely felt to­day than in his hey­day.

The sway of his dis­tinc­tive voice and style lives on in ev­ery singing com­pe­ti­tion con­tes­tant who mis­guid­edly tries to re­cap­ture Buck­ley’s magic on Leonard Co­hen’s Hal­lelu­jah to the ever- grow­ing flock of sen­si­tive guys- with- gui­tars, from Ray La­Mon­tagne to Ed Sheeran.

So it’s no won­der that record la­bel ar­chiv­ists have been dig­ging through his work look­ing for new ma­te­rial. But You And I is truly spe­cial.

The 10 tracks here were dis­cov­ered dur­ing re­search for the 20th an­niver­sary edi­tion of his break­through 1994 de­but, Grace, songs recorded at Shel­ter Is­land Sound stu­dio in 1993 shortly af­ter he signed his ma­jor- la­bel deal.

They cap­ture the power of Buck­ley’s live shows at Man­hat­tan clubs, which touched off a bid­ding war for the singer- song­writer.

The way Buck­ley turns Sly & The Fam­ily Stone’s Ev­ery­day Peo­ple into an in­tense, yet still funky drama with only his gui­tar and his voice shows why.

His soar­ing take on Bob Dy­lan’s Just Like A Woman is al­most un­rec­og­niz­able from the orig­i­nal, dol­ing out sweet­ness and charm rather than sneer­ing dis­mis­sive­ness.

Buck­ley’s eclec­tic in­flu­ences are also on dis­play here, fill­ing The Smiths’ The Boy With The Thorn In His Side with long­ing and swoon­ing ang stand turn­ing the blues clas­sic Poor Boy Long Way From Home into some­thing that merges the blues and the in­die- folk sound that­would be all the rage a decade later.

Be­cause the songs of You and I are just Buck­ley’s vo­cals and gui­tar, they main­tain a time­less qual­ity, es­pe­cially for a gen­er­a­tion that may have never heard The Smiths’ orig­i­nal I Know It’s Over or Led Zep­pelin’s Night Flight.

Buck­ley may soon have yet an­other gen­er­a­tion mourn­ing his un­timely death. – Glenn Gam­boa/ News­day/ tribune News Ser­vice

Mack­le­more & Ryan Lewis

This Un­ruly Mess I’ve Made

Mack­le­more LLC/ Warner

MACK­LE­MORE & Ryan Lewis shocked the mu­sic in­dus­try in 2014 when the hip- hop duo landed four Grammy Awards for the al­bum The Heist over the ac­claimed Ken­drick La­mar.

Did Mack­le­more and Lewis win be­cause they were white? That­was cer­tainly the de­bate atthe time. And it’s a de­bate that has seem­ingly con­sumed Mack­le­more on the duo’s fol­low- up, This Un­ruly Mess I’ve Made.

“I for­got what this art’s for,” he raps in the opener Light Tun­nels, about his Grammy ex­pe­ri­ence. “I didn’t get through fresh­man year to drop out as a sopho­more.”

In the closer, the sprawl­ing White Priv­i­lege II, he goes even deeper, try­ing to fig­ure out his place in not just the hip- hop world, butin the world in gen­eral.

Mack­le­more rec­og­nizes that, as a white man, he has ad­van­tages in both worlds and he can’t fig­ure out whatto do aboutit.

“We take all we want from black cul­ture,” he rhymes. “Butwill we show up for black lives?”

In the end, Mack­le­more re­mains un­sure, as would be ex­pected. His heart seems to be in the right­place, es­pe­cially with all the hip- hop leg­ends lined up to help him.

His skill isn’t ac­tu­ally in so­cial com­men­tary, which of­ten comes off feel­ing like mu­si­cal af­ter- school spe­cials. It’s in off beat Thrift Shop fun and mak­ing club- bangers like Can’t Hold Us.

There isn’t one of those on This Un­ruly Mess, by the way. The clos­est they get is the an­themic sin­gle Down­town, which didn’t get the at­ten­tion it de­served be­cause many were still bogged down in the racial ques­tions sur­round­ing Mack­le­more and Lewis, and the spacey Dance Off fea­tur­ing Idris Elba.

Those songs, along with the ques­tion­ing Need To Know, go much fur­ther in se­cur­ing Mack­le­more and Lewis’ fu­ture in hip- hop than the ones where they won­der what their fu­ture should be. – GG

Wolf­mother

Vic­to­ri­ous

Uni­ver­sal

AF­TER that metal mess of a per­for­mance from the Hol­ly­wood Vam­pires atthe Gram­mys ( Alice Cooper, yes; Johnny Depp, no), it’s good to hear that cleav­ing heavy rawk isn’t just for dilet­tantes — that Aus­tralia’s Wolf­mother and leader An­drew Stock­dale have some­thing to say on the mat­ter.

Sure, that might seem a wee disin­gen­u­ous, con­sid­er­ing Stock­dale’s in­ter­change­able band has done lit­tle but ape Blue Cheer and re­gur­gi­tate aged Zep and Sab­bath riffs since its 2004 de­but.

Still, there’s some­thing to be said for any­one who feels such a gen­uine pas­sion for heavy metal’s misty moun­tain­top of yore that he can think of ( or play) noth­ing else.

Done up in a densely packed pro­duc­tion cour­tesy of Brendan O’Brien ( Pearl Jam, Spring­steen), Vic­to­ri­ous es­chews mostof Stock­dale’s usual Tolkien pre­oc­cu­pa­tion with re­gal­ing lis­ten­ers with the real and the ro­man­tic on thick- riff­ing songs such as Happy Face and City Light.

From there, Stock­dale — sound­ing now like Robert Plant’s mel­low nephew — trav­els through hand­somely con­di­tioned hair metal ( Best Of A Bad Sit­u­a­tion), fuzzed­out-San­tana- wor­thy psychedelia ( Gypsy Car­a­van), rus­tic, boot- stomp­ing bal­ladry ( Pretty Peggy), and sludgy stoner- soul ( The Love That You Give).

Though no­tas holy as Wolf­mother’s de­but, Vic­to­ri­ous is still a win­ner.

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