Michael Garfield – How To Live in the Future: My Time Has Come (Jeff Buckley Tribute)

21 November 2009

My Time Has Come (Jeff Buckley Tribute)

> Imagery
My Time Has Come - 2009 11 18 B Side Lounge
Jeff Buckley Tribute Night:
Jeffery Hyde Thompson & Band, Dechen Hawk, Ramaya,
Katy McNeill, Greg Isakov
, Kendra Current
18"x24" - opaque pens on masonite
original & signed 11"x17" prints available

Last Tuesday, Jeff Buckley would have been 43 years old. Instead, the legendary singer and songwriter accidentally drowned in Tennessee's Wolf River in 1997, the day his band was convening to record a second album...and now, I like to think, he's up there with Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan and Miles Davis kicking out the jams. So it's left to his adoring fans to carry on the tradition of his music. Last year I played in a Jeff Buckley Tribute on his birthday (17 November) at Lawrence, KS's Jazzhaus, but this year I didn't hear about it until the bill was full. So I do what I always do in that situation, and squeezed in at the last minute as a live painter.

The night was great...everyone sang their hearts out (you have to, in order to even approach Jeff's passionate virtuosity), and Jeffery Hyde Thompson's newly-formed tribute group played Buckley's entire album Grace and passed the Turing Test with flying colors. Jeff's 13-year old guitar student Aaron Kirschner kicked off the night with Jeff's cover of Leonard Cohen's "Hallelujah" and blew everyone away. Dechen and Ramaya did a stellar version of "Everybody Here Wants You," my favorite from the album that never was. The B Side was packed, people were cheering, the whole thing was a blast. My only regret is that I should have talked with the band about setting up on the side of the stage, because there were so many people that nobody could get to me...might as well have made myself more visible to the audience.

As for this unusual painting, the first in my third year of live art, it's a little more rigid and formal than I'm used to because I wanted to put something together to honor this specific man and his work. The microphone is the one he's holding on the cover photograph to Grace. The text is a past-tense paraphrase from the title track, his uncanny song about intuiting his own demise, which also mentions waiting in the fire (hence the ring of fire). And the wings are the "black feather wings" that unfurl from the "dark angel...watching over them" in "Dream Brother," Grace's closing track and my personal favorite.

The red ribbon was supposed to allude to the red thread of life and give the whole image a bit more dynamism (red is a color Jeff used frequently in his imagery, being a Scorpio and all). But I think it ended up making it look kind of like a Christmas ornament. Which is okay. One thing I know that wasn't lost on Jeff was how it doesn't always come out the way you expect.

More about the concert itself, including photos, in my write-up at Colorado Music Board.