Jeff Buckley’s You And I
Jeff Buckley’s You And I was released on 3-11-16. It was met with praise from artists like Adele and Chris Cornell among many others, especially here in NYC, who were touched and continue to be touched by his music.
The two men who were in the studio with Jeff Buckley in Februrary of 1993 when he recorded the songs that were recently released as the album You and I were Steve Berkowitz, his friend and A&R man at Columbia, and Steve Addabbo of Shelter Island Sound. It was a rare opportunity to sit down with both of them at the Shelter Island studios located at 40 West 27th Street. The idea was to get some context for the release of these recordings and try to get to know the man behind them a little better.
Steve Berkowitz explained how Buckley fans already know three out of the four chapters of his recording career. Chapter 2 is Live at Sin E’ whose performances were captured in the summer of ’93 and released (initially) later that year. Chapter 3 is the only studio album he released in his lifetime 1994’s Grace. Chapter 4 is the unfinished Tom Verlaine produced sessions that would have been Jeff’s second album and whose working title was My Sweetheart the Drunk. These were released as Sketches for My Sweetheart the Drunk in ’98, a year after his death. You and I then is chapter 1. Berkowitz had signed Jeff Buckley a couple of months before and was starting to get questions about progress from his cohorts at Columbia Records. It was time to make a first step.
Even though Buckley didn’t have a band or much idea about what kind of a record he wanted to make, some time was booked with Steve Addabbo who had worked on a number of first albums. He described his first impression of Jeff as like a wild horse; he was incredibly varied and diverse – so much so that he wondered how he was going to make a record with him. He got the sense that Buckley was aware he needed to realize himself as a writer and figure out what direction that was going to take. The goal for the sessions was a kind of pre-pre production in which he would construct a ‘table of contents’ defining what was in Buckley’s bag of tricks. It turned out to be one amazing bag!