Jeff Buckley – “Live at Sin-é”

Jeff Buckley. I honestly have no idea where to start – there’s so much you could say about his music, but it would be like describing food: you can tell someone in great detail how something tastes, but it doesn’t come close to capturing the experience of eating a perfectly seared filet mignon. Jeff Buckley is that filet mignon.

This is a genius who died young. He only released one studio album before his untimely death in 1997, at the age of 30 (he drowned while going for a swim in the Wolf River in Memphis, TN). Beyond a shadow of a doubt, 1994’s “Grace” is my pick for best album of that decade; it’s absolutely flawless. His distinct and incredible vocals soar on each track, his guitar work and composition is insanely original yet familiar, and he manages to go everywhere from a 1504 Middle English hymn to crushing grunge. His recording of Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah” is one of the most iconic and emotional recordings of all time; you’ve heard it before, trust me. All in all, “Grace” is a perfect studio album in every single way.

This is not that album. I’ll write about that album some other time, but this is Jeff Buckley, the man, captured on two discs.

“Live at Sin-é” is a recording of a gig he played on July 19, 1993 at a café in New York’s East Village called Sin-é (Irish for “That’s It”). The most endearing thing about Jeff is the rawness and conviction of his voice, and there’s no better setting for it or recording of it than this album. No band here; just Jeff strumming a borrowed Telecaster in a small café. Most of the tracks from “Grace” are performed here in their early states, along with covers of everyone you’d never think of: Van Morrison, Nina Simone, Billie Holliday, Bob Dylan, Leonard Cohen, Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan, and Led Zeppelin. His guitar playing is simple, emotional, and controlled, while his vocals will send shivers down your spine. He sings a traditional Pakistani Qawwali devotional, in Urdu, for God’s sakeI feel that Jeff Buckley was always at the peak of his short-lived career. This recording, then, captures him at the very top of that peak.

If this doesn’t give you goosebumps, I give up.




15 Responses to “Jeff Buckley – “Live at Sin-é””

  1. 1 jac7k February 6, 2010 at 12:47 am

    Great, now I have to write an Elliott Smith post. The folk masters of the 90s.

  2. 3 Jack February 8, 2010 at 7:50 pm

    they had this on vinyl at amoeba…it was pricey and i didn’t see it until I had checked out but I always feel terrible missing out on items like this

    • 4 dklee13 June 19, 2013 at 10:21 pm

      As far as I am aware, Live at Sin-e was never pressed to vinyl.
      Just looked the album up on and it confirms that it was never released as a vinyl album.

  3. 5 djoelle September 22, 2010 at 7:41 pm

    this guy was absolutely unreal, his talent magnificent

  4. 6 Heidi October 27, 2010 at 11:08 am

    Thank you for sharing this! This guy was just too good to stay in the world for too long- we borrowed him.

  5. 7 Bhupash March 5, 2012 at 1:37 pm

    Just a note about the Legacy edition: it is comprised of recordings taken over two nights. Completists like myself will be disappointed to know that the tracklist is not – to my knowledge – sequential; that is to say that the two CDs are a mix and match of the recordings over both nights. Nevertheless, this collection is a close second to Grace and certainly the better of the two ‘Legacy’ editions that were released to celebrate the 10th anniversaries of the original Sin-E EP and Grace.

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  12. 14 david m June 30, 2015 at 10:16 am

    apparently when Jimmy page and Jeff Buckley met, they both burst into tears

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*This blog does not upload or store any copyrighted music. The site provides links to, but is unassociated with, file hosting sites such as Mediafire, Megaupload, and Rapidshare. From the Fringe is intended to be used for music discovery purposes only. Please support the featured artists by purchasing their albums. - From the Fringe © 2010


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