Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Haunting Voices: Or Continually Recurring To The Mind

I’ve been thinking about how some voices just grab you completely unaware. Clay Aiken was like that for me. The minute I heard him, I was hooked. One reason why I adore putting his songs on my iPod and then shuffling is when it comes on unexpectedly, it stops me dead. It is as good as I remember. The other interesting thing is that it somehow fits in beautifully among the other artists I have on the iPod. I mix it all up – Elvis Costello and Gene Pitney, Eric Clapton and Eric Andersen, Ten Years After and Ella Fitzgerald. Tom Paxton and Van Morrison. Ray Charles and Fred Neil. Aznavour and Dylan. Andy Bey and Santana. It’s all wonderful music. And Clay works with them all.

Clay’s voice can be so haunting. Mary Did You Know. I Can’t Make You Love Me. Fields of Gold. Such beauty.

Another voice that I always found haunting was Tim Buckley. I adored Tim’s music and incredible voice. His Goodbye and Hello is a beautiful showcase for his stunning vocal range and powerful lyrics in a folk-rock style. While his Happy Sad highlights a more jazzy feel with a small ensemble and sparse understated instrumentation.

Tim Buckley died in 1975 from a drug overdose. He was only 28 years old and the world lost a magical musical explorer. Here’s a clip of Tim singing a rare acoustic version of Song of the Siren on the show The Monkees.

Tim was a wonderful songwriter. He was also an awesome interpreter of songs. Here’s a clip of Tim singing the great Fred Neil’s The Dolphins.

Wow - that was a time when voices really mattered.

Tim's son, Jeff Buckley also met a tragic end, drowning at the young age of 31. He had come to Memphis to start the recording of his second album. His debut album Grace marked him as one of the most promising artists of his generation. His passing deprived the musical world of another amazing talent.

If you’re interested in these two fascinating men, consider reading Dream Brother: The Lives and Music of Jeff and Tim.

Here is Jeff’s haunting rendition of the brilliant Leonard Cohen’s Hallelujah.

From his debut album, Grace, is simply sublime:

So . . . what does this have to do with Clay Aiken? Not really sure – except that certain voices, certain souls touch us. I am drawn to Tim Buckley and Jeff Buckley’s voices. I am drawn to Clay Aiken’s voice. They are beautiful. As can be heard in Clay singing Mary Did You Know on The View.

This blog's Quote is: Beauty without expression tires - Ralph Waldo Emerson.

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allison said...

clays singing can be many things but have you ever thought clays singing is amazing

Anonymous said...

clays singing can be many things beautufull great but you forgot a word the word you forgot is amazing clays singing is infact amazing

Vox Vixen said...

Sublime is right. Jeff's rendition of Leonard Cohen's Hallelujah gave me goosebumps. Both Tim and Jeff had beautiful voices. It's sad that they both died before they could fulfill their promise.

Thanks for the wonderful videos.


Anonymous said...

The first time I heard a Jeff Buckely song I was completely taken. His voice captured me. Grace is one of my all time favorite CDs. We have lost a truly great artist. Clay Aiken did the same for me. Clay's voice is so amazing that is totally catapults me into another world. I just love it!

The ConCLAYve-Nan said...

That's exactly how I felt anonymous. I was driving and listening to an NPR station out of Fordham University and Hallalujah came on and it floored me. I listened for them to announce who was singing and that night I bought Grace. Clay's voice touches me in the same way.