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For me, this album came at a pivotal point in my life. I received “Ten” for my 13th birthday as did I also receive that day my first electric guitar. This was in 1992, and was just time when the Seattle “grunge” thing was going down as the media called it. I couldn’t get enough of watching the Seattle scene explode from the sidelines, as as someone who obviously wasn’t allowed to go to clubs yet, listening to these albums was my way of participating. I remember taking my newly opened cassette in the backroom and putting it hearing the opening droning chords of “Once” kick off and falling in love. This was before I knew how to play guitar and everything I was listening to was unknown magic that sounded like an whole organism. Life changing stuff. To this day, “Ten” is so fun to listen to; raw and real and something that unlocked my mind in many ways.
When I first started listening to bands and buying my own albums, most of the vocalists were very hard and aggressive. Then I discovered Jeff Buckley. Best known for his proper full-length disc “Grace”, “Live At Sin-E” is the documentaiton of an amazing artist in the sate of becoming. His voice on this disc along with the single guitar accompaniment he provides results in much more emotion being put towards the listener than you’ll find in many full-on produced works by any band. Just him, his guitar, his angelic voice and the clinking of dishes in the cafe where it was recorded result in a snapshot of time from an artist that was taken from us too soon. For my money, no one has sung like Jeff Buckley since.
I’ve paired these two albums together due to the fact that when I started to really decide I wanted to become a songwriter, these two albums were all I listened to for a whole summer. For me even to this 20 years later almost, they provide the bookends of what I enjoy about music. Counting Crowes “August And Everything After” taught me how powerful subtlety can be and that less is more, often.
Green Day “Dookie” taught me, well, to pound away on 6-strings like it was your job to make sure they never stop ringing. Both have their moments to shine in one’s songwriting, and for me to this day I strive to make sure both make their appearance in equal amounts.
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