Author/musician Jim Christopulos on TOUCHED BY GRACE: 5 STARS Fascinating, Entertaining, Heart Breaking Touched By Grace is excellent on many levels. For fans of Jeff Buckley, it reveals the complex personality of a legend-in-the-making whose ascending star was tragically shot down too soon. Gary Lucas’ account of his time with Jeff strips away much of the myth; for those who think Jeff Buckley was perfect and could do no wrong, it’s revealed that Jeff could be very cold, ruthless and cunning. Yet, this isn’t a hatchet job; Buckley is merely exposed as human and, along with the ruthlessness that might accompany the actions of one determined to be a star, a waif-like, fun-loving personality is also revealed. The relationship between mentor (Lucas) and protégée (Buckley) is fascinating, starting out with a solid friendship (complete with red flagged warning signs) and degenerating into a rebellious separation (as it must if the Oedipal situation, as described by Lucas, plays out). The ups and downs of the Buckley / Lucas friendship strike one as alternately funny, inspiring, hopeful, and, at many points and ultimately, heart-breaking. For fans of the two Buckley classics “Mojo Pin” and “Grace,” both co-written with Lucas, the story of how these two anthems came to be are lovingly recalled in great detail. The book is also an enlightening read on just how dreadful and back-stabbing the music industry can be. With the hipster New York scene of the 90s as backdrop, tales of record execs screwing artists and not being fearful of contracts being broken because “you can’t afford to sue us” abound. The reader is also introduced to two-faced industry “players” looking for the next hot thing and so easily willing to destroy the dreams / hopes of others in order to find it. Acknowledged as one of the world’s most creative guitar players, Gary Lucas became guitarist (and de facto manager) for the legendary Captain Beefheart in the early 80s, and then gained a reputation as a respected member of the New York brigade that regularly played at CBGB’s and helped put the Knitting Factory on the map. With such an amazing pedigree, Lucas was entrusted with mentoring Jeff Buckley and integrating him into the NY scene. Very few people would be able to tell the Jeff Buckley NY story with more authority than Gary Lucas and for those who are keenly interested in this period of Jeff’s history, look no further than this excellent book.