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Dream Brother: The Lives and Music of Jeff and Tim Buckley

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Jeff Buckley's drowning in 1997 was proclaimed a tragedy, not only because the 30-year-old singer-songwriter was perched on the cusp of stardom but also because his death so eerily mirrored the premature demise of his father, folk-rock icon Tim Buckley. In Dream Brother, music critic David Browne offers an incisive portrait of the ill-fated father and son, examining their Jeff Buckley's drowning in 1997 was proclaimed a tragedy, not only because the 30-year-old singer-songwriter was perched on the cusp of stardom but also because his death so eerily mirrored the premature demise of his father, folk-rock icon Tim Buckley. In Dream Brother, music critic David Browne offers an incisive portrait of the ill-fated father and son, examining their deaths and their short, though accomplished, careers. Browne's keen reporting and strong sense of the complex relationship between Jeff and Tim Buckley create a gripping account of a young artist hurtling toward his own destruction and a lyrical story of two lives adrift on the same churning river. Too discerning to simply attribute Jeff's death to some otherworldly, shared destiny with his father -- who died in 1975 at 28 -- the author instead paints a compelling picture of two valuable artists who never should have left the world so early. Dream Brother avoids dwelling on the similarities between father and son, but its focus on their individual paths makes the coincidences all the more haunting. Despite looking and sounding uncannily like a man who came a generation earlier, Jeff Buckley did not embrace his father's legacy. As Browne points out, the son was already without his father long before Tim's fatal heroin dose. For the rest of his life, Jeff resented his father for his absence and rejected the drug habit and self-destructive lifestyle that had ensnared Tim. And yet, both father and son possessed a daring that led them to premature, accidental deaths. Painting vivid images of the art and business of music in two very different eras, Dream Brother makes it clear that the common thread linking the deaths of Tim and Jeff Buckley is a sense of profound loss -- youth cut short, talent unexplored, music extinguished. Indeed, pervasive throughout Dream Brother is the feeling of something seductively ethereal. Maybe it's the presence of the Wolf River, which lured Jeff to his death. Maybe it's the foreknowledge of how the story will end. But probably, long after the Buckleys are gone, it's the music they left behind. (Karen Burns)


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Jeff Buckley's drowning in 1997 was proclaimed a tragedy, not only because the 30-year-old singer-songwriter was perched on the cusp of stardom but also because his death so eerily mirrored the premature demise of his father, folk-rock icon Tim Buckley. In Dream Brother, music critic David Browne offers an incisive portrait of the ill-fated father and son, examining their Jeff Buckley's drowning in 1997 was proclaimed a tragedy, not only because the 30-year-old singer-songwriter was perched on the cusp of stardom but also because his death so eerily mirrored the premature demise of his father, folk-rock icon Tim Buckley. In Dream Brother, music critic David Browne offers an incisive portrait of the ill-fated father and son, examining their deaths and their short, though accomplished, careers. Browne's keen reporting and strong sense of the complex relationship between Jeff and Tim Buckley create a gripping account of a young artist hurtling toward his own destruction and a lyrical story of two lives adrift on the same churning river. Too discerning to simply attribute Jeff's death to some otherworldly, shared destiny with his father -- who died in 1975 at 28 -- the author instead paints a compelling picture of two valuable artists who never should have left the world so early. Dream Brother avoids dwelling on the similarities between father and son, but its focus on their individual paths makes the coincidences all the more haunting. Despite looking and sounding uncannily like a man who came a generation earlier, Jeff Buckley did not embrace his father's legacy. As Browne points out, the son was already without his father long before Tim's fatal heroin dose. For the rest of his life, Jeff resented his father for his absence and rejected the drug habit and self-destructive lifestyle that had ensnared Tim. And yet, both father and son possessed a daring that led them to premature, accidental deaths. Painting vivid images of the art and business of music in two very different eras, Dream Brother makes it clear that the common thread linking the deaths of Tim and Jeff Buckley is a sense of profound loss -- youth cut short, talent unexplored, music extinguished. Indeed, pervasive throughout Dream Brother is the feeling of something seductively ethereal. Maybe it's the presence of the Wolf River, which lured Jeff to his death. Maybe it's the foreknowledge of how the story will end. But probably, long after the Buckleys are gone, it's the music they left behind. (Karen Burns)

30 review for Dream Brother: The Lives and Music of Jeff and Tim Buckley

  1. 4 out of 5

    Shannon

    I went to high school with Jeff Buckley and graduated a year behind him. We didn't share any classes and our paths rarely crossed, so I had no idea of his talent. I remember one day, though, as we passed each other as he was leaving a classroom while I was entering. We made eye contact, and he smiled and said "hi." I know I smiled, and I think I said "hi" back. Because I was a shy kid with low self-esteem, any time anyone I didn't know greeted me kindly it stuck with me. Anyway, I remember I went to high school with Jeff Buckley and graduated a year behind him. We didn't share any classes and our paths rarely crossed, so I had no idea of his talent. I remember one day, though, as we passed each other as he was leaving a classroom while I was entering. We made eye contact, and he smiled and said "hi." I know I smiled, and I think I said "hi" back. Because I was a shy kid with low self-esteem, any time anyone I didn't know greeted me kindly it stuck with me. Anyway, I remember thinking, after we'd passed, that I'd missed an opportunity, that he looked sweet and kind and a little vulnerable and maybe he would have been my friend if I'd had the nerve to chat for a moment. Because of this, reading Dream Brother was painful. I didn't finish it. He was sweet and vulnerable at the time, and according to the book was feeling alienated from the high school experience. I feel sad for the boy I passed in the hall that day, and I regret even more not talking to him a little bit and finding out about his life, although I suspect I would have written him off as way too cool for me (in fact, this is part of why I didn't talk with him that day and why the experience stayed with me). And this is why reading about his death at such a young age is so heartbreaking, even well after the fact. So no, I couldn't finish the book. It's well-written and extremely well-researched, so I'm giving it a high rating, but I can't say I enjoyed reading it. It just hits a little too close to home.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Jenny Brown

    I was a huge Tim Buckley fan and had the pleasure of seeing him perform live, twice, in 1967 and '68. No recording I've heard has ever captured the richness of his voice which was unlike any I have ever heard elsewhere. I also got to meet Tim backstage and learned how short he was, and how nasty he could be to a complete stranger simply because she expressed the fact that she had been deeply affected by his music. Later I heard many stories about Buckley's untidy personal life from hippie I was a huge Tim Buckley fan and had the pleasure of seeing him perform live, twice, in 1967 and '68. No recording I've heard has ever captured the richness of his voice which was unlike any I have ever heard elsewhere. I also got to meet Tim backstage and learned how short he was, and how nasty he could be to a complete stranger simply because she expressed the fact that she had been deeply affected by his music. Later I heard many stories about Buckley's untidy personal life from hippie friends in Cambridge in '68, so I was particularly interested in learning the real details of what happened. This book answered most of my questions, but it was not an enjoyable read. The author's tone throughout is strangely flat, reverting too often to discographical detail (who played on what album, and when it was produced) but failing to bring alive the environment in which Tim Buckley flourished, or for that matter, the personalities of either Tim or his son. This may be partially because there is little written material to give us a sense of these men's thought patterns and motivations. But lack of written material didn't keep another author from writing a brilliant evocation of the lives of the Carter family in Zwonitzer's Will You Miss Me When I'm Gone. Unfortunately, the approach taken here was one that, by the end of the book, made me think much less of both Buckleys, who come across as stubborn and self-involved in a way that doesn't make us empathize with them or, by the end, care about them. Despite my experience of Buckley's unpleasant personality, I still loved his music, and listened to it until he verged off into the Jazzy direction that Browne appears to think was progress but which to me was boring and in retrospect a sign of just how drugged out Buckley was. Somehow Browne doesn't seem to connect up the drug use with the change in Buckley's approach to playing music. The Grateful Dead in the same timeframe were able to get extremely stoned but still keep aware that music was for the listener. Somehow Tim couldn't. He became seduced by the pleasure of listening to his own music in his own mind, without understanding that performers must connect to those listening or they have no right to be on a stage. I had not been a fan of Jeff's music, and having seen quite a few YouTube videos of it, he seems to me to be someone with excellent musicianship but no feel for song construction. His stuff goes on and on, and his best performances are of other people's songs. Even there, I like Leonard Cohen's version of Hallelujah a lot better than Jeff's. Finally, the issue that never gets discussed in this book, but should be, is that of hereditary mental illness, which appears to have been an issue with both father and son. At one point the author mentions "borderline personality" as if it were something someone "came down with." This shows faulty research, and since borderline personality is basically a form of psychosis which results in people being completely unaware that other people are alive, or caring for them in any regard except to manipulate them, to bring that diagnosis up is quite a dramatic statement that wasn't lived up to by the actual story told here. But obviously both father and son had some major mental issues, and it seems clear that Jeff was losing touch with reality during his last months of life, given the word-salady quotes presented here. A bit more insight into this could have helped give us more empathy for these two brilliant but doomed musicians. The author's intellectuality appears to be the real problem here. He is too much the New York jazz critic, too far away from the reality of musicians and the life they lead.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Alyx

    Jesus, I'm a nerd. I go headlong into revisiting a dormant crush on the doomed son of a doomed son by checking in with my local library. This is Dave Thompson's Depeche Mode: Some Great Reward all over again! Fortunately, David Browne wrote a pretty substantial biography on the Buckleys that twines, parallels, and misses the two young men who shared heritage but not each other's lives. I think the Jeff portion was what they were going to make the stalled biopic out of, which would be good source Jesus, I'm a nerd. I go headlong into revisiting a dormant crush on the doomed son of a doomed son by checking in with my local library. This is Dave Thompson's Depeche Mode: Some Great Reward all over again! Fortunately, David Browne wrote a pretty substantial biography on the Buckleys that twines, parallels, and misses the two young men who shared heritage but not each other's lives. I think the Jeff portion was what they were going to make the stalled biopic out of, which would be good source material (though an unnecessary exercise, and James Franco is now too old). It drags as it gets closer toward both men's inevitable demise, but also captures what made them good artists, terrible commercial entities, maddenly charismatic individuals, and neatly encapsulates their familial lineage across post-war California migration and Irish and Panamanian ancestry. I was also pleasantly surprised to find that Jeff dated some interesting women (and one with my exact birthday), though annoyed by the cold reality that he was at times a real pretentious dweeb. Like father, like son. In short, a good read even if you didn't house a glossy of one of them in your spiral notebook during your junior high years.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Kelly Murray

    soooo good! This book deepened my love and appreciation for Jeff Buckley(as if that were even possible). I loved getting the really intimate perspective on both Jeff's and his father's lives. They never really knew each other, but were similar in many ways. This is the only book that has ever made me cry at the end. It really made me appreciate the kind of person that Jeff was, even if he was a bit before my time. He seemed to have had such a pure soul and wanted nothing more than to spread love soooo good! This book deepened my love and appreciation for Jeff Buckley(as if that were even possible). I loved getting the really intimate perspective on both Jeff's and his father's lives. They never really knew each other, but were similar in many ways. This is the only book that has ever made me cry at the end. It really made me appreciate the kind of person that Jeff was, even if he was a bit before my time. He seemed to have had such a pure soul and wanted nothing more than to spread love and kindness in the world. It's like he had passion flowing through his veins.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Paul Gleason

    Browne's book is a solid and exhaustive biography of two of the greatest musicians of the twentieth century: Tim and Jeff Buckley. I especially appreciate Browne's technique of telling Tim's and Jeff's stories concurrently, and not devoting the first half of his book to Tim and the second half to Jeff. I learned that both father and son suffered from depression and erratic behavior. Tim and Jeff were also true musical geniuses - and it's the way in which both combine introspection, earnestness, Browne's book is a solid and exhaustive biography of two of the greatest musicians of the twentieth century: Tim and Jeff Buckley. I especially appreciate Browne's technique of telling Tim's and Jeff's stories concurrently, and not devoting the first half of his book to Tim and the second half to Jeff. I learned that both father and son suffered from depression and erratic behavior. Tim and Jeff were also true musical geniuses - and it's the way in which both combine introspection, earnestness, and incredible singing (Tim had a five-octave range) that makes their music so meaningful. You probably already know the story. Tim was briefly married to Jeff's mother, but they split shortly before Jeff was born. So while Tim was making some of the most innovative music of the late 1960s and early 1970s (listen to Starsailor or "Song to the Siren" if you haven't already done so) by combining folk music, free jazz, rock and roll, and really every musical form that came within his grasp. Tim's music is nothing like his more popular L.A. contemporaries - even The Doors and Love. Every album was an innovation and progression. But his emotional fragility led to heroin addiction and a rather random overdose at the age of 28 in 1975, which paralleled his son's equally rather random death by drowning at the age of 30 in 1997. I know Jeff's music much better than Tim's because Jeff was my contemporary (he would be six years older than I if he were alive). I loved his one true album, Grace, when it first came out. It was the perfect record for me because it combined all of the styles of guitar playing that I loved. The riff on "Grace" is brilliant and moving, and the delicate performance of Leonard Cohen's "Hallelujah" is, as you know, one of the greatest songs ever committed to tape. I could tell that Jeff loved Zeppelin, Piaf, Jane's Addiction, progressive rock, folk music - really anything he came across. He was like his dad in this way. And, like Tim, Jeff was earnest, passionate - and not angry. This was crucial in 1994, when music seemed either hateful and nihilistic or ironic and distant. Jeff managed to avoid these extremes and make an honest, brilliant record that somehow sounded spontaneous and highly produced at the same time. Jeff was the antidote. The roots of Radiohead and The White Stripes are in Jeff. Just listen to his voice, which seemingly can do anything. Yorke, Greenwood, and White found inspiration when they spun it - and McCartney and the like praised it. Like his dad, Jeff was the real deal. The thing is that Jeff's (and Tim's) legacy barely survive. I find them most present in Sufjan Stevens and not in Radiohead or The White Stripes. There's a reason why Jeff's record is called Grace; it's a record about searching for grace in our lives, about trying to find spirituality in a way that doesn't hammer us with didacticism like that group from Ireland.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Silvio111

    People my age (born in the 50s) are most likely to remember the folk singer/songwriter Tim Buckley, whose beautiful voice soared over jazz guitar, vibraphone, and conga percussion, and with riffs swiped from jazz greats like Miles Davis into a fusion of folk and jazz. People 20 years younger are more likely to have known of Tim's son, Jeff Buckley, who also was a singer/songwriter, had jazz influences, and had an absolutely beautiful voice. Jeff hardly knew his father; he did not grow up with him. People my age (born in the 50s) are most likely to remember the folk singer/songwriter Tim Buckley, whose beautiful voice soared over jazz guitar, vibraphone, and conga percussion, and with riffs swiped from jazz greats like Miles Davis into a fusion of folk and jazz. People 20 years younger are more likely to have known of Tim's son, Jeff Buckley, who also was a singer/songwriter, had jazz influences, and had an absolutely beautiful voice. Jeff hardly knew his father; he did not grow up with him. When he got well known in the Village for his music, he purposely never revealed who his father was. However, fans of Tim, when they did discover him, rightly were stunned by the similarity of their pipes as well as their faces. When they ill-advisely would request his father's songs, the son would get very offended. I would never have presumed to impose the father's repertoire on his son. But I do feel the family resemblance strongly. Which makes it all the more tragic that they both died too young--both close to 30 yrs old more or less. This book is an amazing story which fills in the gaps in the mystery for fans of either or both. I highly recommend it.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Melanie

    Big fan of Jeff Buckley, but after reading this account, took the shine off him. Usually the more I know, the more I can appreciate the artist and the music (e.g. Johnny Cash), but in this instance - he came across a tad sulky and ridiculous. Tim Buckey's story really hooked me and a have a deeper appreciation for his music. Either way - a good and informative read on two fine artists, David Browne did a marvy job.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Stacey

    I had been collecting bootleg recordings and searching the cd bins for a new studio release from Jeff Buckley for years when I got the news of his "disappearance" en route to work one morning. It hit me hard. So hard I felt compelled to meet with a locally well-known "psychic" (For real or not? Who knows?). He told me that what freaked me out most about Buckley's death was that it upset me so much but that I didn't understand why (true). He then told me that he was seeing two guys, heavy I had been collecting bootleg recordings and searching the cd bins for a new studio release from Jeff Buckley for years when I got the news of his "disappearance" en route to work one morning. It hit me hard. So hard I felt compelled to meet with a locally well-known "psychic" (For real or not? Who knows?). He told me that what freaked me out most about Buckley's death was that it upset me so much but that I didn't understand why (true). He then told me that he was seeing two guys, heavy drinkers, pub-crawling. He wasn't certain whether he was seeing Ireland or northern England but he WAS certain the scene he was picking up on was during the industrial age, that the two men were closer than brothers, and that the two brothers were Jeff and I in a prior life. He then said to me "You feel like your brother died, don't you?" Yea, that's exactly how it felt. I believe in God, in my own way, but I never believed in reincarnation, mainly because it makes no sense to me. But the "psychic" definitely nailed how Buckley's death effected me. For a long time after his death (by drowning) odd incidents, featuring water, would happen to me and around me. I've never been particularly clumsy with containers of water but was suddenly accidentally tipping them over a lot over a period of about a year. The last time I was paying my bills and had paperwork all over the dining room table. After a cursing and cleaning spell I said out loud "I know it's YOU, Jeff and... you know I love you, man, but this stuff with the water is getting old. I don't need these 'mishaps' to keep from forgetting you so please... cut it out, okay?" And yea, the "spills" ceased. I know what you're thinking - and I never even met the guy - but I know he was trying to communicate with me then, just like I know he stopped messing with me after I asked him to. At the time, I knew nothing about Buckley's personality. After reading Dream Brother, however, I'm more sure than ever. That Jeff was such a child. What the world of music lost is a lot. NOBODY could ever replace Jeff Buckley or ever fill the hole he would have had he lived. Browne aptly refers to Jeff Buckley's career as "stillborn." At the time of his death only a small, very devoted core knew about him and worshiped his sound - and I was one. I was extremely bitter at the slick way so many recording artists attempted to co-opt his sound, aware that hardly nobody would know they were robbing a ghost (Chris Martin [among others]... HELLO!) but thanks to Browne and (oh God, I can't believe I HAVE to say it) an American Idol contestant who sang Cohen's "Hallelujah" in the style of Buckley, bringing Jeff to the attention of the public at large, everybody now knows who the real king was. But I remember very well that at the time of Buckley's death, apart from a tiny blip about it in Rolling Stone (some rock journal...) the ONLY mention of his passing was a rapturously sad page in an issue of Entertainment Weekly by the man who wrote this book. God bless you, David Browne. You have no idea how much your acknowledgement of a brilliant artist who should have changed everything about music (and would have, if only...) meant to me. That you took it a step further and penned a full-length bio of Jeff (and his "dad", Tim) is something for which I'll be forever be grateful. That it put a stop to future imitators, making it impossible for them to commit further acts of thievery is another thing I have to thank you for. I only regret that it took me until now (I'm purging my library... THIS book stays) to say it.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Michelle Luksh

    My fascination with Jeff Buckley began when I heard about his tragic death, fell in love with his album "Grace", and then got sucked into the pulsing romance that surrounds his career and legacy. His enigmatic story encompasses the thrill of talent, the loss of love, the allure of the unknown, and the realization that some people just aren't meant for this world. I feel like Jeff knew that somewhat and realized it more when he sang, but I could just be blowing smoke in the tall-tale fantasy that My fascination with Jeff Buckley began when I heard about his tragic death, fell in love with his album "Grace", and then got sucked into the pulsing romance that surrounds his career and legacy. His enigmatic story encompasses the thrill of talent, the loss of love, the allure of the unknown, and the realization that some people just aren't meant for this world. I feel like Jeff knew that somewhat and realized it more when he sang, but I could just be blowing smoke in the tall-tale fantasy that was his brief but illustrious life. This novel tells the interweaving life stories of both Jeff and his father, Tim. While I was not much of a fan of Tim - both his music and his choices - I came to understand that not all people are meant to be understood. Cliche, but it's the only way I can describe certain people. But the story itself was insightful and quite harrowing. Romantic yet so tragic. Full but somewhat cryptic. The author saturates the novel with album breakdowns song by song, harmony and melody and jazz influxes combined. It's like reading album reviews by Pitchfork or Rolling Stone, but then quickly and patiently he reveals more of the personal story behind Jeff and Tim's lives. Switching from music to legacy back to touring and roadies, it's a nice mix of saga and the music industry mentioning the singers' personal influences and sources of inspiration, one that music-junkies and Buckley-addicts will more than appreciate. And although we come to understand more about Jeff and Tim, even by the end of the novel we are still left with an absence/void. I can't quite decide if it's because I never truly got to understand Jeff's mind albeit the novel, or the fact that he was taken from this world far too soon. In a weird way, I miss him. I miss him a lot for someone I never knew, but wish I did. And when he mentions that someday he will come back as rain or energy after his death, I find myself trying to feel his presence in moments of peace.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Jessie

    I bought this book in hardcover when it initially came out in 2001. It has languished on my shelf ever since. I tried to read it a few times before, but always abandoned it. Normally after something has sat unread on my bookshelf for that long, I'd get rid of it, but I always felt like one day I would read it. I was a latecomer to Jeff Buckley's music, in the sense that I didn't really start listening to him until after his death. Prior to that, I knew who he was, but that was about it. I finally I bought this book in hardcover when it initially came out in 2001. It has languished on my shelf ever since. I tried to read it a few times before, but always abandoned it. Normally after something has sat unread on my bookshelf for that long, I'd get rid of it, but I always felt like one day I would read it. I was a latecomer to Jeff Buckley's music, in the sense that I didn't really start listening to him until after his death. Prior to that, I knew who he was, but that was about it. I finally heard him for the first time in 99, and I was completely blown away by his voice. I bought Grace shortly thereafter, and it's been part of the soundtrack to my life ever since. Ultimately, I finished this book with more questions than answers. It left me with a deep feeling of sadness, which probably isn't helped by the fact that I'm currently listening to Jeff's unfinished second album. I am glad I finally read this book. In the end, I found it more sad than insightful, but I think the author did the best he could, considering the subject matter. He chose two very enigmatic men to write about. Both of them liked to stretch the truth, and they both even went as far as making up stories when the truth of the matter was much more mundane.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Norman Revill

    David Browne is a solid and engaging music writer - check out Fire and Rain (Da Capo Press) - and this was his first book. His research is so thorough and painstaking, by the time you get to the end, you'll know just about everything about the tragic Buckleys; even that Tim's funeral featured an open coffin. And their story is a tragedy; sublime music from two deeply troubled individuals, who met briefly but never really knew each other. One long-gone father and his abandoned son; two voices David Browne is a solid and engaging music writer - check out Fire and Rain (Da Capo Press) - and this was his first book. His research is so thorough and painstaking, by the time you get to the end, you'll know just about everything about the tragic Buckleys; even that Tim's funeral featured an open coffin. And their story is a tragedy; sublime music from two deeply troubled individuals, who met briefly but never really knew each other. One long-gone father and his abandoned son; two voices that can break your heart. Read this and you'll just have to dig out the albums. Leonard Cohen's a genius, but no-one takes possession of 'Hallelujah' like Jeff, and witness Tim on YouTube as his incredible voice soars to redefine Fred Neil's 'Dolphins' on The Old Grey Whistle Test, with a back-up band he only met on the session. Choosing to tell their stories by alternating them, Browne inevitably takes us backwards and forwards, which can be mildly confusing (or perhaps that's just me?). No matter, there's a wealth of detail here, and always, inevitably, such a terrible sadness. A superb double biography. Every Buckley fan should read it, and weep. 'Once I was...' oh yeah, times two.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Samantha Glasser

    This book is so amazing. I read it on a whim because it was the summertime and I had a deep interest in Jeff Buckley but did not know much about him. I read the book and not only did I feel I thoroughly knew Jeff, but I understood his family, especially his father, as well. Some people say that it was wrong to posthumously lump Tim and Jeff Buckley together after Jeff fought for years to separate himself from his famous father. I believe that note should be taken of this, but in order to This book is so amazing. I read it on a whim because it was the summertime and I had a deep interest in Jeff Buckley but did not know much about him. I read the book and not only did I feel I thoroughly knew Jeff, but I understood his family, especially his father, as well. Some people say that it was wrong to posthumously lump Tim and Jeff Buckley together after Jeff fought for years to separate himself from his famous father. I believe that note should be taken of this, but in order to understand Jeff's need to be a separate being and in order to prove how different the two were, one had to write about the both of them in order to show their contrasts and in some cases their similarities. The book is quite an accomplishment. At times it is graphic and sentimental and others it is technical and factual. Overall, it is a wonderful piece of work, especially since Jeff only died in 1997.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Emily Jones

    Partially because I'm obsessed with Jeff Buckley, and partially just because his life was interesting, this is a great read. Browne intertwines the events of Tim and Jeff's lives in an interesting way, albeit they spent very little time together. They were eerily connected regardless. I'm honestly sad this book is over.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Richard Kearney

    David Browne's Dream Brother offers a fascinating subject: two highly talented yet deeply troubled musicians who, some twenty years apart, both suffered the misfortune of tragic death at an early age ... and who were also bioloigcally linked as father and son. As Browne notes in his introduction, his initial interest was in the son, Jeff Buckley, who he interviewed for the New York Times in 1993 and who went on to have some commercial success as a recording artist and touring musician until his David Browne's Dream Brother offers a fascinating subject: two highly talented yet deeply troubled musicians who, some twenty years apart, both suffered the misfortune of tragic death at an early age ... and who were also bioloigcally linked as father and son. As Browne notes in his introduction, his initial interest was in the son, Jeff Buckley, who he interviewed for the New York Times in 1993 and who went on to have some commercial success as a recording artist and touring musician until his death by drowning in 1997. In the course of Browne's research, however, he decided a full investigation into the life of Jeff's father Tim Buckley also needed to be an integral part of the story. The result is an engrossing parallel biography, organized into alternating chapters, where the meeting points are few but the influences profound. Although he produced nine albums of original and often high-quality music during his ten-year (1966-1975) recording career, Tim Buckley remains a low-profile figure among musicians of his generation. He enjoyed little commercial success during his lifetime and was obliged in his final years to tour frequently so as to provide a modest income for his second wife and adopted son. Some critics have attributed Buckley's commercial "failure" to his rapid and radical stylistic changes, making it difficult for audiences to follow him, and there is certainly an element of truth to this. The albums he released between 1966 and 1970 move from conventionally structured, folk-influenced songs to lengthier, elaborate orchestral pop to increasingly improvisational jazz-influenced music to something approaching free jazz. Yet as Browne makes clear, Buckley pursued his muse in a singularly uncompromising way and evinced little regard for the customary strategies of fostering a popular audience. On the contrary, he proved more than willing to confound the expectations of his manager, his record label, his fans, his fellow musicians and other collaborators, bristling at any suggestion he should accommodate their expectations. One of Buckley's drummers, Maury Baker, recalls the following exchange during some concerts following the release of Buckley's free-form album Starsailor (1970): "A couple of times, somebody would say, 'Hey, could you play one of your old tunes?'....And he'd say, 'No, I don't play that anymore. If you don't like it, get the fuck out of here.' He was vehement. He didn't want to backtrack at all." (page 211) Buckley paid the price for his steadfast commitment to artistic forward movement with ever-declining record sales and a dwindling audience. He was dropped by his first record label (Elektra) and spent the rest of his career on Straight/DiscReet, a label co-owned by his manager and musician Frank Zappa. While Buckley's last three albums, all explorations in funk-influenced music, can be regarded as attempts to produce more accessible material, they also constituted new departures in his journey. Browne notes that to those who knew him Buckley often seemed tormented by inner demons. He readily accepted criticism but was distrustful of and even hostile to praise. He had difficulty forming mature and responsible relationships with women and often manifested an ugly sexism, particularly when his lovers exhibited the kind of independence he routinely practiced. He had serious substance abuse problems, indulging heavily in booze and drugs as he become increasingly isolated from the people around him. While there is some evidence he was approaching greater stability during his final years, it was reckless behavior that ultimately killed him at age 28 when he ingested heroin and suffered a fatal overdose after coming off a brief tour in June 1975. Browne suggests an important source of Tim Buckley's inner turmoil may have stemmed from his youth. Following an early childhood in upstate New York, his parents relocated to southern California and he grew up in a mostly stable home environment. His parents were both music enthusiasts and from them he became acquainted with a wide variety of styles. His father, however, suffered a traumatic injury during World War II and a subsequent work-related injury that produced ugly and violent mood swings in his personality. As it happened, his high school sweetheart Mary Guibert had similar issues at home with a strict, violent-tempered, and abusive father. Finding solace in each other near the end of high school, they married in 1965 shortly after Mary discovered she was pregnant. As it turned out, this was a false pregnancy but it was soon followed by a real one. By this point, however, Buckley had begun to focus all of his time and energy into getting his music career off the ground while completely neglecting his marriage and even acquiring a new girlfriend. He abandoned his wife shortly before the birth of his son, Jeffrey Scott, in late 1966. Browne's account of Jeff Buckley's life is sensitive and empathetic. The younger Buckley carried the burden of being an abandoned child who never really knew his father and - once he decided upon music as a vocation and a career - the equal challenge of having to contend with his father's long musical shadow throughout his life. Taking up the guitar at an early age, Jeff studiously avoided any mention of his father with family, friends or acquaintences. Although it is apparent Jeff had meticulously studied Tim's music, he preferred the rock groups of his own era. By his late teens, Jeff immersed himself in jazz fusion guitarists and took a one-year intensive course at the Musicians Institute in Los Angeles after graduating high school to learn music theory and improve his guitar-playing skills. After spending several years playing guitar in a variety of bands in California during the height of 1980s "hair-band" metal, he concluded he had reached a dead end and relocated to New York in search of new opportunities, though his initial stint there also proved a disappointment and he returned to California to consider his next moves. As fate would have it, the turning point in Jeff's career was a tribute show organized in New York to honor his father in 1991. When the show's producers discovered Tim Buckley had a son, they contacted Jeff and invited him to the show. Up until this point Jeff had avoided singing much more than background vocals in his various bands, but he was gifted - as his father had been - with a multi-octave range, and at the tribute concert he made full use of this covering four of his father's songs and his performance received enthusiastic reviews as a highlight of the show, drawing music industry attention. In Browne's account, Jeff was highly conflicted over the subsequent months, suspicious and distrustful of the recording industry, tormented by the idea that he was being courted solely because of his paternal lineage, and yet very ambitious and interested in having the kind of industry support necessary in the early 1990s to launch a career where he could be heard by large numbers of people. While woodshedding at the East Village club Sin-é, Buckley finally opted to sign with Columbia/Sony. Unlike his father, Jeff Buckley took considerable time putting together the music and personnel for his first album. His repertoire at Sin-é included some original compositions, but it was dominated by a wide variety of covers. Columbia sampled a Sin-é performance for a debut EP release in 1993 and in the meantime Buckley assembled a small combo and began recording his album Grace. Browne's chronicle of the recording process reveals it to have been somewhat meandering. The songs took a long time to develop and Buckley revised and re-arranged them throughout the process, sometimes to the bemusement of his bandmates and producer. Even before Grace was released in August 1994 Buckley and his band departed for what would end up being almost two years of touring in venues around the world. The album itself is a fascinating amalgam of rock and ballad styles, distinguished by Buckley's impressive vocals and guitar playing, and with the combination of marketing and tour support it received it sold respectably, if not spectacularly. Out of the studio and on the road Buckley was more comfortable and confident, but after two years he needed both a break and - at his record company's urgings - to begin working on a second album. This turned out to be another ordeal. Following a chance meeting with New York punk rock pioneer Tom Verlaine, Buckley secured Verlaine's agreement to serve as producer of his second album. At the same time, however, Buckley was trying out a new drummer after his original drummer departed his band, and he had not yet composed an album's worth of new material. As a result, two sets of recording sessions in New York were a frustrating experience for everyone involved. Urged by a friend to consider a change of located, Buckley relocated to Memphis and summoned Verlaine and his band for a third set of recording sessions in early 1997. Still unsatisfied with the results, Buckley reluctantly concluded he needed to work on additional material and replace Verlaine with a different producer. In late May 1997 he was finally ready to continue work on the album but before this commenced he died in an accidental drowning while swimming fully clothed in the Wolf River. Most of the material produced from the completed recording sessions was subsequently released under the title Sketches for My Sweetheart the Drunk in 1998. Browne gives Jeff Buckley equal time in Dream Brother, but with his much shorter career the chronicle of Jeff's life leaves mostly the sad impression of unrealized potential. Browne was given access to Jeff Buckley's journals and other papers, and each chapter in Dream Brother includes a brief sampling from these writings, several of them containing assessments of his father's life and work. Through Browne's story we are offered an interesting interpretation of the challenge of trying to forge an artistic path in the shadow of a parent for whom one has painful and mixed feelings. Perhaps more than most musicians Jeff Buckley was cautious and reluctant to be pinned down, even as he struggled to find his own voice. What we have left is the musical legacy of both Buckleys, in careers that both ended much too soon, but there is plenty of inspiration to be found in their work and Dream Brother is as good a companion text as you will find to the music.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Paul Lyons

    What better way to explore the life of the son by also diving in to the life of the father? The Buckley men, Tim and Jeff, were equally brilliant and tragic troubadours with incredible voices that still sound fresh and exciting today. Better still, both men had a gift for creating melodies that elevated the listener to a higher plateau. David Browne's "Dream Brother" stands as an excellent tribute to the lasting legacy of what both Tim and Jeff Buckley brought to the table. One could argue that What better way to explore the life of the son by also diving in to the life of the father? The Buckley men, Tim and Jeff, were equally brilliant and tragic troubadours with incredible voices that still sound fresh and exciting today. Better still, both men had a gift for creating melodies that elevated the listener to a higher plateau. David Browne's "Dream Brother" stands as an excellent tribute to the lasting legacy of what both Tim and Jeff Buckley brought to the table. One could argue that "Dream Brother" is really a Jeff Buckley biography, and that to understand Jeff Buckley, one must also explore the life and music of the father he barely knew: Tim Buckley. I would probably agree with that argument, especially since the title of the book alone refers to a Jeff Buckley song. But that makes me love "Dream Brother" even more. Also, its true...Tim Buckley is an essential part of Jeff Buckley's story, whether he liked it or not. Before he died at age 28 from a heroin overdose, Tim Buckley recorded eight years of songs, jams and experimentations on nine studio albums. "Wings," "Aren't You The Girl," "She Is," "Once I Was," "Pleasant Street," "Buzzin' Fly," "Strange Feelin" and "Song To The Siren" are among the many great songs he released in his lifetime...that barely anybody heard. Tim Buckley was a music star, but not a Top 40 artist. His records only occasionally made the Billboard charts, and rarely received radio play. His rebellious nature mixed with a love of jazz and improvisation lead to years of making music against the commercial grain. Worse still, Tim Buckley had no interest in playing the music business game of glad-handing and promotion. All he wanted to do was play his music. ...just like his son. Having survived an unstable childhood with a birth-father who showed little interest in him, Jeff Buckley grew up to be just as rebellious and anti-commercial as his late father. Unlike his father, however, Jeff Buckley had a music school degree, and was a rocker at heart. Both men had incredible five-octave range voices, yet Jeff Buckley's pitch was higher than his father's Irish tenor. Tim Buckley's first album came out when he was 19 years old, and died at age 28. Jeff Buckley was near 28 when his first and only studio album was released. Tim had a longer career, Jeff had a longer life. ...and in that short 30-year life, Jeff Buckley made some of the greatest music ever recorded. His songs are timeless, and so very unique in both sound and style. The author thankfully goes into detail about the making of many of Jeff Buckley's greatest songs...songs that most Americans don't know about because he only made one album, that didn't sell that well in the United States (huge overseas though, especially Australia, England and France): "Mojo Pin," Grace," "Last Goodbye," "Dream Brother," "Eternal Life" plus the posthumously released masterpieces like "Sky Is A Landfill," "Yard of Blonde Girls," "Witches Rave," "Murder Suicide Meteor Slave" and the great "What Will You Say." For most people in the U.S., Jeff Buckley is the guy who sang "Hallelujah," an inspired retention of Leonard Cohen's song (which he first heard sung by John Cale). These people have no clue about "So Real," or 'Everybody Here Wants You" or "Haven't You Heard" or "I Woke Up In a Strange Place." They probably never heard of "Grace" either, or who Tim Buckley is...but they know "Hallelujah," and can appreciate the angelic voice belting out the song. There were many fascinating things in "Dream Brother," many of which I never knew about. I knew of Tim Buckley's Irish heritage, yet I did not know Jeff Buckley was Panamanian on his mother's side of the family, and that both of his grandfathers were abusive men. Though I always knew Jeff Buckley kept his father and his father's music at a distance, I never knew that he made a such an in depth study of his father's work, being very familiar with many of Tim Buckley's famous and not so famous songs. The saddest tragedy for both Tim and Jeff Buckley was their relationship to the industry that fed them. Both father and son were reluctant music stars, more shunning the spotlight than craving it. Tim Buckley's lack of interest in commercial music got the better of him, and he lost control of making the music that he wanted to make. Perhaps as a result, Jeff Buckley was permanently wary of all things music business, and bristled at any executive who dared try to control what music he chose to play on record, or in concert. Tim Buckley's choices on his final day on Earth, were perhaps the result of drinking and unwinding after the restraint he endured for his last tour. Yet his actions that led to his death still raise many questions. Same goes for his biological son Jeff, whose state of mind was in a confusing and fragile state during the days before he drowned in the Memphis river...raising still many unanswered questions as to what happened to him down there, and why he impulsively choose to take a swim that May evening, in his clothes and newly purchased boots...perhaps freely giving himself to the river's dangerous current. Back in 2001, I purchased "Dream Brother," with the hope of learning more about Jeff Buckley...yet I never read it. Instead, I skimmed the book here and there. Now, 16 years later, I am so very glad to have finally read the entire book, which I found enlightening, educational, and very entertaining. Kudos to David Browne, who waded through years of research, interviews, and music, and wrote such a tastefully, thoughtful tribute and exploration of the lives of these two talented, tortured men, who gave the world the gift of their great voices, and music.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Jake

    This is a solid music biography of father and son, Tim and Jeff Buckley. I mostly read it for the Jeff part. Of course, Tim's story is relevant to Jeff's life and music, as Jeff and his mother were abandoned by Tim before he was born. The parallels between their lives are pretty strange, biology is pretty strong. Both had incredible vocal range, an interest in a wide variety of musical style and a disdain for the music industry they were tied to. It even goes all the way back to Ireland where This is a solid music biography of father and son, Tim and Jeff Buckley. I mostly read it for the Jeff part. Of course, Tim's story is relevant to Jeff's life and music, as Jeff and his mother were abandoned by Tim before he was born. The parallels between their lives are pretty strange, biology is pretty strong. Both had incredible vocal range, an interest in a wide variety of musical style and a disdain for the music industry they were tied to. It even goes all the way back to Ireland where Buckleys were Irish troubadours who passed on Celtic history through songs, after the brits banned Irish history and culture, as well as the Panamanian roots of the maternal side of the family. It continues through their lives and early deaths and the bickering among their surviving loved ones over their royalties and legacies. It always kind of seemed to me that Jeff Buckley's album Grace (one of the best albums ever) just dropped out of the sky. The book shows otherwise. Jeff was a total music nerd. After high school he went to a music school in LA, mastering fusion Jazz and prog rock like Rush, Yes and early Genesis (who he introduced me to with his cover of Back in NYC). He played his guitar pretty much all day every day, but notably did not sing. Many of his friends didn't know he could sing until Grace came out. All in all Buckley fans will love this, others may not.

  17. 4 out of 5

    XandreRL

    An amazing, fascinating and captivatingly deep inmmersion in the Buckley's early interrupted life. Full of data and friends, colleagues and family proofs is the perfect way to introduce at the both Buckley's World. More focused on Jeff than Tim, all the people, as me, that they love Buckley's music have here a must read. Almost perfect biopic.

  18. 5 out of 5

    cynical duck farmer

    if you were me, you would have devoured this book in the summer of 2002 while a little bit obsessed with tim and jeff (tim a little more than jeff, but not by much), and you would have paused to wrestle with a knot that formed itself in your hair, in the place where you'd tied the bandana you were fond of wearing at the time. you would have won the wrestling match, barely, and gone on devouring what was left of the book. later, some conflicted feelings would have swollen inside of you, like gum if you were me, you would have devoured this book in the summer of 2002 while a little bit obsessed with tim and jeff (tim a little more than jeff, but not by much), and you would have paused to wrestle with a knot that formed itself in your hair, in the place where you'd tied the bandana you were fond of wearing at the time. you would have won the wrestling match, barely, and gone on devouring what was left of the book. later, some conflicted feelings would have swollen inside of you, like gum tissue swelling in your mouth around the unflossed food fragments left between your teeth after the meal. most of the feelings would have had to do with the way the author paints tim as self-defeating and mentally ill, while letting jeff off the hook for most of his transgressions, minimizing or failing to analyze many of his eccentricities, giving him a "difficult genius" halo, clearly more enamored with the son than the father. you would have appreciated the way chapters were broken up with excerpts from journal entries and letters written by jeff, many of them moments in which he revealed that as much as he denigrated his father and minimized his connection with the man and his music in public, privately he understood both man and music better than anyone and felt a painful love for a ghost who could not love him back. more than anything, you would have been left with a feeling of emptiness when thinking of how both the father and the son ended sadly and ended too soon, and how they were not doomed from the start as much as they seemed to grow into being doomed. you would have then found yourself amassing a large collection of bootleg recordings, featuring some music that was thrilling, and some that was not but was made halfway thrilling by the excitement you projected onto it, and you would have spent a ridiculous amount of money buying a physical copy of tim's long-out-of-print "starsailor" album on ebay without regretting it for a second. then the near-obsession would have tapered off over time, until there were healthier-sounding things in its place, like "admiration" and "respect", and you would have stopped wearing bandanas after suffering a knot severe enough to almost necessitate an unwanted haircut. of course, you're not me. so none of that ever happened, probably.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Christopher

    David Browne's DREAM BROTHER is a dual biography of the musicians Tim Buckley and Jeff Buckley, Tim's son. The tale is told in alternating chapters to show the eerie resemblances and notable differences in their tragically short lives. Tim Buckley died of a drug overdose at the age of 28, Jeff Buckley drowned in the Mississippi River when he was 31. Before that, they had both left between works of great beauty and originality, but had yet to reach the mainstream towards which they both hoped. David Browne's DREAM BROTHER is a dual biography of the musicians Tim Buckley and Jeff Buckley, Tim's son. The tale is told in alternating chapters to show the eerie resemblances and notable differences in their tragically short lives. Tim Buckley died of a drug overdose at the age of 28, Jeff Buckley drowned in the Mississippi River when he was 31. Before that, they had both left between works of great beauty and originality, but had yet to reach the mainstream towards which they both hoped. DREAM BROTHER gives a rather depressing view of the two musicians. Listening to his music and hearing the details of his life and terrible early death, one could believe that Tim Buckley is a true tragic figure. In Browne's book, however, he comes across as a womanizing jerk who betrayed all who trusted him. Browne acknowledges the greatness of his music, even his difficult album LORCA, but spends more time detailing his deceits than talking about the music. I would have loved to find out more about the making of Tim's album STARSAILOR, which is considered his masterpiece (and remains frustratingly out of print). Unfortunately, Browne all but glosses over it. Jeff Buckley doesn't come out of this book well either. To read Browne's account, it seems as if Jeff was a man of limited talent who, in spite of every intention to the contrary, was groomed by the record industry to put out albums that might sell because of his heritage and his Village vibe. I loved GRACE, thought it was one of the greatest albums of the 90's, and believed that Jeff had great potential for future albums even more brilliant. After reading DREAM BROTHER, I still love GRACE and Jeff's amazing vocal ability, but I can see that the world was lucky that he had people working with him who were able to keep him focused, as musically he was trying to go off in every direction as once and getting nowhere. If one is a die-hard fan of one of both of the Buckleys, DREAM BROTHER might be worth reading. It certainly helps place the music of Jeff and Tim Buckley in context and sheds light on some more obscure songs. While it is somewhat flawed, Browne does deserve points for excellent use of sources and refraining from the desire to tabloidize a biography about two musicians.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Big Al

    I read this book because I love Jeff Buckley's music, but even though I don't know much about Tim Buckley I felt that the Tim chapters were just as interesting. Though Jeff may not have liked these endless comparisons to a father he felt he didn't know, it is impossible to ignore some striking parallels between father and son. The alternating chapters in this book help highlight some of these similarities; for example, seeing both men develop a rebellious attitude in regards to their music I read this book because I love Jeff Buckley's music, but even though I don't know much about Tim Buckley I felt that the Tim chapters were just as interesting. Though Jeff may not have liked these endless comparisons to a father he felt he didn't know, it is impossible to ignore some striking parallels between father and son. The alternating chapters in this book help highlight some of these similarities; for example, seeing both men develop a rebellious attitude in regards to their music career causing conflicts with their record labels. Even though neither stories have a happy ending, I still recommend this to fans of Tim and Jeff. Knowing the back story seems to only enrich their music- I for one know that after reading this I will never listen to the haunting chorus of Jeff's "Dream Brother" in the same way ever again.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Paris Turner

    “The compelling tale of two musical visionaries, it chronicles both the cruel and generous interweavings of genetics and fate.” —New York Daily News I can’t remember what initially drew me to David Browne’s Dream Brother. Perhaps it was the identical pair of deep-set, dark eyes gazing at me from beyond the dual-biography’s front cover. As Browne states, the physical semblance between Tim and Jeff Buckley was striking: Both men had “sorrowful glances, thick eyebrows and delicate, waifish airs that “The compelling tale of two musical visionaries, it chronicles both the cruel and generous interweavings of genetics and fate.” —New York Daily News I can’t remember what initially drew me to David Browne’s Dream Brother. Perhaps it was the identical pair of deep-set, dark eyes gazing at me from beyond the dual-biography’s front cover. As Browne states, the physical semblance between Tim and Jeff Buckley was striking: Both men had “sorrowful glances, thick eyebrows and delicate, waifish airs that made women of all ages want to comfort and nurture them.” However, as Dream Brother reveals, the genetic link between father and son ran much deeper than physical appearance. Jeff Buckley is now widely-revered for his painfully short yet eclectic discography, characterised by seemingly endless vocal elasticity that stretched from piercing wails to soothing psalms. Little did I know, this unearthly gift had been passed down through the generations, formerly appearing as the deep and sonorous voice of sixties cult singer Tim Buckley — Jeff’s father. Rather than dividing the biography into two parts, Browne relates Tim’s story concurrently to that of his estranged son. The result is a highly engaging piece of writing, despite linking the two men more closely than Jeff would have liked. As one of the only major works written on Tim, and the first biography to document the life and music of Jeff, Dream Brother is a must-read for anyone interested in either ill-fated artist. Browne’s writing style is enjoyable, unfolding like a beautiful narrative to uncover the ever-captivating Buckley story. The depth of his research is equally commendable, especially when taking into consideration how quickly it was pieced together following Jeff’s untimely demise. Overall, I found Dream Brother to be a haunting and fascinating read; a remarkable exploration of two men who mirrored each other in life, and came face to face in death. Don't be like the one who made me so old Don't be like the one who left behind his name Cause they're waiting for you like I waited for mine And nobody ever came — Dream Brother, Jeff Buckley

  22. 4 out of 5

    Reilly Cook

    This was a huge project to take on as a reader, let alone, I can't imagine how David Browne did it. I was a mild Jeff Buckley fan with no knowledge of Tim Buckley whatsoever. I picked up this book in hopes to understand more of the mysterious musician that I knew so little about, but listened to semi-frequently. I will say, this took me a while to get through. It can be dense at times, and paired with small words and many pages, sometimes my mind glossed over all the little names and details that This was a huge project to take on as a reader, let alone, I can't imagine how David Browne did it. I was a mild Jeff Buckley fan with no knowledge of Tim Buckley whatsoever. I picked up this book in hopes to understand more of the mysterious musician that I knew so little about, but listened to semi-frequently. I will say, this took me a while to get through. It can be dense at times, and paired with small words and many pages, sometimes my mind glossed over all the little names and details that were abstract to me. However, Browne can sure write a biography. His writing was clear and easy to follow, even if you didn't know all of the technical terminology of the music industry. He weaved their stories together well and clearly, drawing parallels and distinctions that I'm sure the Buckleys themselves would've been blind to. If you have no interest in these people's lives, from start to finish, this isn't the book for you. If you are looking to see the journey of two very different, but related, musicians, this book will really teach you a whole lot.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Peter

    As soon as acquired this, to say I was excited is an understatement. To begin with, I am and will forever be a bigger fan of Jeff. Both stories are vastly interesting and entertaining. I can see both Tim and Jeff exhibiting similar behaviors in each of their own separate times. Both sought freedom of life and music and unfortunately, felt that they were both on the tip of what they wanted in their last years/months. Aside from getting a lot of information that I didn’t know before, I came away As soon as acquired this, to say I was excited is an understatement. To begin with, I am and will forever be a bigger fan of Jeff. Both stories are vastly interesting and entertaining. I can see both Tim and Jeff exhibiting similar behaviors in each of their own separate times. Both sought freedom of life and music and unfortunately, felt that they were both on the tip of what they wanted in their last years/months. Aside from getting a lot of information that I didn’t know before, I came away with a new perspective on a few things. I always got this dream like vibe from Last Goodbye, more of the video and to hear that Jeff was tired as hell probably adds to that. That and this is my own connection, but there was a song that Elizabeth Fraser did with Massive Attack, the theme for House and I find a lot of parallels between Jeff and House. I’m sure this book will stay on my mind for a long time to come.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Sean Reeves

    It's an interesting idea to write biographies of father and son in parallel but I found the effect somewhat disorientating as each Tim chapter was followed by a Jeff chapter for the entirety of the book. There is a heavy focus on the pair's music making perhaps at the expense of the inner life of both characters. However, who really understood either of them? Overall, the book is a riveting read and meticulously researched. Anyone wanting to know more about the two Buckleys will be richly It's an interesting idea to write biographies of father and son in parallel but I found the effect somewhat disorientating as each Tim chapter was followed by a Jeff chapter for the entirety of the book. There is a heavy focus on the pair's music making perhaps at the expense of the inner life of both characters. However, who really understood either of them? Overall, the book is a riveting read and meticulously researched. Anyone wanting to know more about the two Buckleys will be richly rewarded after reading this book.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Wendy Zuern

    I didn’t want to finish this because it’s so heartbreaking.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Eva

    Absolutely loved it, totally captured by the story and made me buy more of their albums!

  27. 5 out of 5

    Nina

    Browne does a thorough job of detailing the talented, too short lives of iconic musicians Tim and Jeff Buckley. The chapters alternate between the two, and reveal eery similarities between a father and son who barely knew one another. Extensively researched, the book contains information gleaned from interviews with many people who knew both men. People who knew Tim were stunned when first seeing and hearing Jeff, as his appearance and voice evoked vivid memories of his father. Jeff spent much of Browne does a thorough job of detailing the talented, too short lives of iconic musicians Tim and Jeff Buckley. The chapters alternate between the two, and reveal eery similarities between a father and son who barely knew one another. Extensively researched, the book contains information gleaned from interviews with many people who knew both men. People who knew Tim were stunned when first seeing and hearing Jeff, as his appearance and voice evoked vivid memories of his father. Jeff spent much of his life rejecting any mention of his father. He constantly struggled against using his father’s name and connections to further his own career. As he met people who had known his father well, and heard of his father’s adversarial relationship with the music industry, he seemed to acquire an understanding of his father that had been lacking. He spoke to and of his father through his music, and when he first heard his father’s recordings he was surprised to realize that Jeff had reached out to him in song. Unfortunately, the parallels in Tim and Jeff’s lives extend beyond their extraordinary talent; they both died tragically, accidentally, and far too young.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Jessica Stank

    A detailed side-by-side view of the strikingly similar timelines of talented musicians who were strangers to each other and also father and son, Tim and Jeff Buckley. The book had all of the information I was looking for and then some. It was written by a journalist and it totally reads like it was written by a journalist. I appreciate the amount of work that went in to gathering all of the necessary info to complete this ambitious project. I found myself getting bored with some of the portions A detailed side-by-side view of the strikingly similar timelines of talented musicians who were strangers to each other and also father and son, Tim and Jeff Buckley. The book had all of the information I was looking for and then some. It was written by a journalist and it totally reads like it was written by a journalist. I appreciate the amount of work that went in to gathering all of the necessary info to complete this ambitious project. I found myself getting bored with some of the portions about Tim, but I wasn't really researching him. Nor am I familiar with his work. That might be why I found myself skipping ahead during some of his chapters. I felt it was a respectful and comprehensive representation of their lives. I learned a lot about Jeff's life and feel I have a better understanding of who he was based on where he came from. I probably have a greater appreciation for his lyrics now that I know where some of his deepest emotions were coming from. Browne did both of these men justice with his portrayal.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Linda Billings

    What I found amazing about Dream Brother is that I was introduced to Jeff Buckley's life and music. The book itself is a good biography of Jeff and his father. Their stories are not intertwined; there is one chapter about Tim, then one chapter about Jeff and so on. I, of course, bought Grace and Live at Sine right away and now I am OBSESSED with Grace. (sigh...) I am a little embarrassed because I was only familiar with the cover of Leonard Cohen's Hallelujah, but better late than never..... I What I found amazing about Dream Brother is that I was introduced to Jeff Buckley's life and music. The book itself is a good biography of Jeff and his father. Their stories are not intertwined; there is one chapter about Tim, then one chapter about Jeff and so on. I, of course, bought Grace and Live at Sine right away and now I am OBSESSED with Grace. (sigh...) I am a little embarrassed because I was only familiar with the cover of Leonard Cohen's Hallelujah, but better late than never..... I read one review of Grace that said "It is my firm belief that at some point in every music fan's life, there will come a time when they fall for Grace, and Grace is no passing phase of life. Grace changes you in the way that little other music does." Perfectly stated! I'm glad I found it now.....maybe I wasn't ready before. When I listen to it now, there is some point when I just have to sit down and let it overtake me, almost as if it has some power or something.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Jack Hastings

    This is a well-written, intimately detailed, double-barrelled American tragedy in two acts. I'm surprised at how little I really knew about the father or the son and the resonances with my childhood experiences in SoCal, OC and Riverside and my later musical adventures. It would be easy to view this work as another sad story of commerce destroying art and artist but author David Browne has taken the time and effort to delineate the complexities of these two remarkable individuals and their This is a well-written, intimately detailed, double-barrelled American tragedy in two acts. I'm surprised at how little I really knew about the father or the son and the resonances with my childhood experiences in SoCal, OC and Riverside and my later musical adventures. It would be easy to view this work as another sad story of commerce destroying art and artist but author David Browne has taken the time and effort to delineate the complexities of these two remarkable individuals and their respective milieus. To read this work while listening to their music, watching their live performances and interviews makes for a very poignant experience.

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