Jeff Buckley’s Hallelujah is a powerful rendition of the Leonard Cohen Classic. Jeff’s intricate fingerstyle picking and reverb soaked telecaster tone create his unmistakable signature guitar sound. Combined with his unique vocals and the overall effect is unmistakable.
Jeff Buckley, Son of the late Tim Buckley was one of the major talents of the mid 90s, combining tasteful guitar work with unique heart-wrenching vocals, all filtered through his eclectic musical sensibilities. Presenting a triple threat as talented singer, guitar and songwriter, he was determined to carve a niche for himself and resist the inevitable comparisons with his famous father. Jeff’s career burned brightly but briefly, releasing an acknowledged masterpiece with 1994’s “Grace”. Sadly it was cut short in 1997 when Jeff lost his life in a swimming accident.
Of course opinion is divided on the virtues of Jeff’s legacy and the usual hard-to-please critics and detractors abound – Jeff was certainly not what you could call restrained and understated. However, if you’ve been moved by an artist then there’s no need to justify you feelings. Critics are notoriously fickle in their assessment of artists and their view is frequently clouded by political prejudice.
I think overall Jeff Buckley’s Hallelujah is a worthy rendition of the original, but even if it’s not to your taste, Buckley’s guitar work is an education in subtlety making use of varied textures and light and shade in dynamics.
It’s always instructive to compare different versions of the same song, so here’s there original. Obviously Leonard doesn’t employ the swooping vocal style of Jeff, and the synths and electronic are in marked contrast to the more stripped down Rock & Roll instrumentation of Jeff.
And in the interest of eclecticism, here’s Rufus Wainright’s version which showcases his genteel piano stylings.
Find out more about Jeff here
Check out my fingerpicking lesson for more on this style