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From Barnes & NobleThe Barnes & Noble Review
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)