Gary Lucas  
Check out a letter Gary just received about his new book "Touched by Grace" from Claudio Conti, a fan from Sardinia:
Hello dear Gary,
my name is Claudio,
I'm a songwriter and I'm writing you because your book really moved me.
I empathized with your story,
I perceived the hard times you have gone through and wanted to tell you that I respect you very much for the loyalty you demonstrated towards your coherence and towards Jeff, who treated you so badly in several occasions.
Many other people would have reacted differently,
but I would say that sometimes, the wisdom of age counts.
That is probably your case.
I am not ashamed to tell you that I first heard your name through Jeff Buckley (and not through your amazing Gods and Monsters or the late great Captain Beefheart) back in 1997.
He indirectly made me know you. And I am happy for that anyway.

I discovered Jeff's music 2 months after his sudden death,
it was summertime, 2 and a half months before my sixteenth birthday, his voice came into my life and stayed with me for all these years.
It's also because of Jeff that I began to listen to Tim Buckley's records, I had already heard of him as an influential musician but I didn't know his songs at the time, not even Song to the Siren or Morning Glory.
After almost 16 years I can firmly say that both Tim and Jeff still sit in the room where I selected my most influential artists.
They sit beside Jim Morrison, John Lennon, Dennis Wilson, Nick Drake, Syd Barrett, Tim Hardin, Tom Waits, Gram Parsons and Kurt Cobain...all of them tortured souls

I love very much your songs and your music.
Currently my favorite ones are Skin Diving, Christmas in Space Medley, Aguirre/The Sheep Look Up, Strong Seed (aka Beyond the Pale), Hugh's Graveyard Stomp and I just purchased online your album 'Evangeline' that I can't wait to receive it from the postman....and I LOVE the records you made with Don Van Vliet, you must be so proud of them.
Talking about the songs you recorded with Jeff, (not mentioning Mojo Pin or Grace that I both adore especially in their early versions) I would say that I'm extremely inclined to What Will It Take, Dink's Song and Cruel.
But if I had only one song to choose I would pick your duo version of Grace at the Knitting Factory in two gave me the shivers, literally.
I would never want to minimize your art, the songs I listed are just my humble choice to your vast repertoire.
It's been very unpleasant to read all the things that did to you record companies,managers, A&Rs and fellow musicians (Jeff included), yes this might be part of the game you have to play to stay in the business but let me tell you, you must be a very strong and determined human being.
I would have collapsed.
From my viewpoint,
what better can a musician get from life?
I think sharing his visions, intuitions and insights with the people,
with the world.
I understand you because when I hear you play,
I hear rare talent, and it causes envy, jealousy, especially from people that have no art to share and they can't stand it.
What you don't need to hear from me is something that I'll say it anyway,
that is:


The last chapter of your book made me cry.
I don't think I should add some more.
When I finished the book, devoured in two days, I wrote a long poem about you and about how I perceived your life up until now.
What else could I say other than it would mean so much to me to stay in touch with you.
The following poem is for you,
you deserve it.
I wish you all the best,

Beneath a Taipei sky
whispers of tomorrows wings
to the other side
another dreamer gone forever

a dead city smells success
a city where they steal and bow
to the chemistry of romance
fingers adrenaline
desire undisturbed
will my wife caress my cheeks again?
on a bend
a man transcended
poisoned instants
hazed expectations
who could feel the artist void?
a harsh failure
a cold humiliation
a knife from a brother
another closed door
the long
dismal nights

alone and by the breakers
like a harmony waver
he distilled a sacred harmony
in silence
with patience
with glimpses of obedience
nurturing a wondrous call
the absence of a logical fall
an elegy
and there you are again
in a selfish crowd
where they give you nothing
where they take you anything
where they have another round
noisy and stinking

a tender
empathetic wife
leads a man to the kingdom's gilded entrance
far from the maelstrom
breeding his creative freedom
in a sincere alliance
a double breath
and very few words in a room

like a phoenix
he rose again from his bitter ashes
took a stand
and rose again

your fears
about the veil of tears
are so familiar
a black building was feeding you
a black building disappeared
upon the destiny windowsill
a mysterious silhouette appeared
voice of celestial heights
he began to dance
in a trance
with depth and wildness in his glance

sensitive musician drowns
for an article
for a sharp pain
they say 'he'll be fine'
but he can't swim
precipitates and drinks
the holy waters

allowed you to be ridden
and after a crimson sundown
he left you
on a desolate strand
with your head and your hands
on the delicate sands

A magical city
easily chokes fragility
and you witnessed the pressures
through a stolen glance
through a window
among the yellow leaves of trees
among circles of quiet
among the raindrops
and the nature's wisdom

A fake chatterer sees no clues
no meanings
no elegance in the words
no lilies in the mud
no truths through the eyes of one another
he doesn't burn inside
he doesn't know
the loneliness that it takes
to write an intimate song
in silence
in an inward darkness
giving birth
for a daughter of the soul