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Music DVD Review: Jeff Buckley – Grace Around the World Deluxe Edition

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Jeff Buckley may have only released one studio album, Grace, during his tragically short life, but the posthumous releases have been plentiful, ranging from demos for his planned sophomore release, My Sweetheart the Drunk, to live recordings.

Grace Around the World could have been just the next collection of so-called rarities, but this 2-DVD, 1-CD set is a well thought out package that isn’t merely a cash-in attempt. There’s not much here for fans looking for new music, but the large collection of previously unreleased video footage is excellent, and the included documentary Amazing Grace: Jeff Buckley is the highlight of the set.
Disc one is a DVD containing video footage from Buckley’s tour stops from all over the world, including London, Frankfurt, Tokyo, and New York. Every song from Grace is represented at least once, except for the Benjamin Britten cover “Corpus Christi Carol.”

Also included on the first DVD is the music video for Buckley’s iconic Leonard Cohen cover “Hallelujah” and footage from a tour interview. Overall, it’s more than two hours of footage.

Disc two is a CD that is simply the audio version of the first 12 videos from the DVD. Just listening to the audio, a number of these tracks don’t live up to the original studio recordings. It’s a nice addition, but a number of the recordings – especially the extremely hushed version of “Hallelujah” – aren’t very dynamic without the video.

Disc three is a DVD of the award-winning, hour-long documentary Amazing Grace by first-time filmmakers Nyla Bialek Adams and Laurie Trombley. Rather than presenting a straightforward biography of Buckley, the film takes a look at his legacy and impact on both people who knew him and people who didn’t.
Extensive interviews make the film a success as we hear from Buckley’s mother, Mary Guibert, and all of the former members of Buckley’s band prominently. Interviews from other musicians, a dancer, an artist and a classical composer reveal the broad range of influence his music had – each talks about the way Buckley’s art influenced his or her own.

The film also explores the various reactions when these people found out about Buckley’s accidental drowning death in Tennessee’s Wolf River. At the time, his popularity was mostly limited to cult appeal, making the news seem even more personal for many.

Grace Around the World delves deeply into Buckley’s output and offers some insight into what made the fairly reclusive musician tick – simply, he loved creating, and was wary of the established music business. An excellent collection, it’s well worth picking up for Buckley fans.

Grace Around the World is also available in a standard version that only includes the first DVD and CD, but the deluxe edition is definitely the one to pick up, as it’s the only way you can purchase the documentary. Also included in the deluxe edition is a large, two-sided poster and replicas of Buckley’s boarding pass to Australia, a backstage pass, and press releases from the original release of Grace.

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About Dusty Somers

Dusty Somers is a Seattle-based editor and writer. He is a member of the Online Film Critics Society and Seattle Theater Writers.
  • JC Mosquito

    Grace (Deluxe Edition), Sketches, Sin-E (Expanded Edition) and L’Olympia are supposedly the essential Buckley recordings. Though I haven’t seen or heard this newest package, I can’t imagine there’s much more left in hiding of Jeff Buckley’s that would be considered essential. If nothing else, the constant compiling and recompiling shows how talented Buckley was and how deeply he is missed.