Pollstar Premiere: Morgan James’ ‘Grace’

Morgan James has recorded her own version of every track of Jeff Buckley’s Grace album to coincide with the 20th anniversary of the singer/songwriter’s untimely death. Check out the video premiere below. 

“Twenty years ago we lost one of the most fresh and classic new voices of a generation: Jeff Buckley,” James tells Pollstar. “His debut and seminal album Grace is on my desert island list, as it is for so many artistic souls. To honor him, I wanted to sing it, start to finish … and somehow walk in his shoes.” 

Morgan James
– Morgan James

Grace – the singer/songwriter’s only complete studio album – was released in 1994. The project includes seven tunes written or co-written by Buckley, along with covers of Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah,” James Shelton’s “Lilac Wine” and the traditional song “Corpus Christi Carol.”  

Buckley’s version of “Hallelujah” has been featured in a number of TV shows including “The West Wing” and “The O.C.” It was inducted into the Library of Congress National Recording Registry in 2014.

Buckley died on May 29, 1997 at the age of 30. His body was discovered in the Mississippi River a few days later and his death was ruled an accidental drowning. 

He had begun recorded his sophomore album at the time of his death.

Rolling Stone later included Grace in its compilation of the “500 greatest albums of all time.” RS writes, “Buckley had a voice like an oversexed angel, and the songs here shimmer and twist. The fierce rocker ‘Eternal Life’ upends Led Zeppelin’s take on the blues while honoring it: Instead of a hellhound on his trail, Buckley, who drowned in 1997, evokes immortality bearing down on him.”

Check out James’ soulful take on the acclaimed album below. She is accompanied by Doug Wamble on guitar. Bassist Andrew Sommer appears on the tracks “Grace,” “Lover You Should’ve Come Over” and “Lilac Wine,” and Grace Cloutier plays harp on “Hallelujah” and “Corpus Christi Carol.” 

The video was shot at YouTube Space NY and filmed by Nathan Crooker and Jason Banker.
James is currently on the road supporting her 2017 album, Reckless Abandon. She plays Las Vegas next with a June 2 show at The Smith Center / Cabaret Jazz.

Check out James’ complete tour routing at her

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