touched by grace

"Touched by Grace" is Gary Lucas' up close and personal account of working with his friend and collaborator Jeff Buckley during Jeff's early days in NYC, and includes a detailed description of the creation of Gary and Jeff's signature anthems "Mojo Pin" and "Grace", which were featured on Jeff's 1994 two-million selling "Grace" album, recently hailed as one of the "500 Greatest Albums of All Time" in Rolling Stone.

Autographed copies available from Gary here!

"Touched By Grace" is included in author Julia Crowe's ("My First Guitar") article "The best books on what drives an artist" in The Shepherd!

"Touched By Grace" was chosen as a Pick of the Week, and was also cited as one of the BEST BOOKS OF 2014 in Roy Trakin's annual roundup in HITS Magazine!

On Sept. 20th 2012 Gary's first book "Touched by Grace: My Time with Jeff Buckley" was published in Italy and translated into Italian under the title "Touched by Grace—La Mia Musica Con Jeff Buckley" by Arcana, one of the largest publishers in Italy specializing in music-related books.

"Touched by Grace" available now in the UK and US through Jawbone Press!!

Jawbone Press editor Tom Seabrook and Gary at the signing ceremony, Park Hotel Amsterdam 2/17/13

Listen to Gary's interview with Co de Kloet on Dutch National Radio 6 re: "Touched By Grace" on 9/30/14.

Check out a clip about Gary's book "Touched By Grace—My Time with Jeff Buckley" by French filmmaker/actress Lena Friederich.

Purchase a copy of "Touched by Grace" on Amazon, or purchase an autographed copy here


—John Leland, NY Times journalist, author of "Hip: A History" and "Why Kerouac Matters"

4 STARS in MOJO Magazine—read it here

Review from Record Collector

Great review from

Cool review from R2 Magazine (UK)

Read a review in Gapplegate Guitar and Bass Blog

Review from a fan from

Gary recently completed a "Touched By Grace" Tour in the UK, with readings and performances with special guests. Gary has also recently done in-store book signings and solo acoustic performances at Bookbook in the West Village, at the legendary Paris bookstore Shakespeare and Company, and at Monster Melodies, Chatelet Paris in support of his new book "Touched By Grace—My Time with Jeff Buckley".

Read press releases for "Touched By Grace" here and here!

Gary made several in-store appearances in Italy to promote his new book, including an interview and live performance at the FNAC Megastore in Milano on Sept. 24th 2012, and a sold-out club show that evening.

Gary Lucas at the FNAC Megastore in Milan Italy for his new book signing, presentation and performance 9/24/12

Gary's book received excellent reviews in the Italian press:

Rolling Stone | La Repubblica | La Stampa | Il Piccolo

and raves from fans and musicians:

from Gary's friend Lee Underwood, Tim Buckley's collaborator:

Reading Touched by Grace. Great writing, Gary. Looking forward to getting further into the book. Will let you know. At at the moment, super-impressed with your own personal/musical journey. Have ordered several of your albums. Will get into your music, in depth. Looking forward to that, too. Keep on keepin' on, ol' buddy. You're quite a guy! Best, L

Read Lee's full comments here.

from producer Steve Addabbo (Jeff Buckley's "You and I"):

I just finished reading your book...I was completely engrossed and mesmerized by it. Great job!

Your book is such an honest inside look at a side of Jeff that never gets mentioned in all the posthumous glorification of a kid that got in over his head and never had the time to figure out what he had to say. I think you played such a major role in helping him in that treacherous journey that he couldn't see you were probably one of the few honest and trustworthy souls to cross his path.

The book touched me deeply, I only knew Jeff superficially as his engineer for three days and seeing him at Sine'. I was lucky to see him before the pressure of the major label world without a hit single took its toll.

I am glad you were able to write the book, It must have been quite a journey.

I am truly in awe...

Good luck with the new album with Jann,

Steve Addabbo

from author ("Serge Gainsbourg: A Fistful of Gitanes") & singer-songwriter Sylvie Simmons:

"Part love story, part cautionary tale, "Touched by Grace" is a frank and fascinating memoir of Gary Lucas' life in music and the music business, both of which he knows well. An acclaimed guitarist, he started out playing in Captain Beefheart's Magic Band. When Beefheart stopped touring, he paid the rent by working behind the scenes at a major record company, writing advertising slogans for bands like The Clash. He had his own band too, Gods and Monsters. but most of all he had a dream: to find the perfect vocalist to sing his complex, intricate songs, a Robert Plant to his Jimmy Page. And one day he did. A young, unknown singer, with the voice of an angel named Jeff Buckley. That's the love story part - how the two became close friends and collaborators, with Gary handing him glorious songs like Grace and Mojo Pin, to which Jeff added lyrics and That Voice. If you've heard Grace you'll know how good they sounded. Only Grace wasn't released as a Gods and Monsters album but as a Jeff Buckley album. The music business - which seems from this book to have made a habit of messing with Lucas' life, hence the cautionary tale - stepped in and lured Buckley away to a solo deal. The book is a compelling read, with lots of detail on Jeff, whom Gary never seems to have come to hate in spite of the betrayal. Jeff's no longer here - he didn't live to see the release of a second solo album - but Lucas is still around and playing music, and this is a compelling story he tells."

from Mitch Myers, Author of "The Boy Who Cried Freebird: Rock & Roll Fables and Sonic Storytelling":

"This is an absorbing book—an inside look at the music business, as well as Gary Lucas' own head. Imagine a place where art and commerce intersect, now imagine it touched by grace."

from Steve Kilbey (leader of Australian rock legends The Church and vocalist in Gary's recent Australian "A State of Grace" Tribute to Tim and Jeff Buckley):

"Touched by Grace" is a great read. A real "I couldn't put it down" type of book. Although a huge fan of Jeff Buckley I didn't know much about the guy. Here he comes alive in all his flaky genius and mercurial carrying on. Gary Lucas' story is very heavy on the musical details which I love and the book pulls no emotional punches as Jeff goes through the ups and downs until his tragic and seemingly inevitable end. If you want some insight into the whole Buckley story then I could imagine no better place to start than this very book which certainly spills all the beans on a few crazy years in the early nineties when Jeff and Gary cooked up Grace and Mojo Pin, probably 2 of the most haunting unique and complex songs ever to be framed within rock 'n roll music.

from Kara Johanna Hughes, actor:

Hi Gary! I finished "Touched by Grace" last night and just wanted to say how amazing it was to read! It really makes you feel like you're in the recording process and truly captured what it's like to be in the industry! I especially loved the portion of the writing of Mojo Pin; makes me wish I was back in NYC haha! (I have to say, my absolute fav version of Mojo Pin is on "Songs to No One", it's so beautifully done!) Thank you so much for sharing your story, it was a wonderful thing to read.

from writer Bill Bamberger:

Gary, I don't often participate in "Year's Readings" lists, but I want to make an exception here, because one of the 5 best books I read this year was yours: TOUCHED BY GRACE. No brown-nosing intended, I assure you. What makes it better than most music-slash-bio books is that while the partnership story is certainly interesting, for me what is more fascinating is your descriptions of the creative process, the nuts and bolts and finger-blisters and—most impressive—of those indefinable core-sparks that have to be struck for any set of ideas and gifts of technique to come together as music. So, with no slight on Jeff Buckley, those sharp descriptions of the feel of the creative process are what stay with me.

from Author and critic Gary Lippman:

The late great Southern novelist Harry Crews often touted the virtue of "getting naked" in the art one makes—and "naked" is exactly what the musical wunderkind Gary Lucas gets in Touched By Grace, his memoir about his friendship and artistic partnership with the late great singer-songwriter Jeff Buckley. Talk about wearing one's proverbial heart on one's sleeve! Lucas is so vulnerable in his book—painfully, beautifully vulnerable—that he surpasses nearly every other first-person music testimony on the market. What's more, Touched By Grace serves as a detailed primer on how to decide on, commit to, remain committed to, and work your proverbial ass off in a lifetime career as a working artist. In prose as well as music, Lucas goes for broke—and wins. Big.

from Jon Tiven, songwriter/record producer/multi-instrumentalist:

"Touched by Grace", Gary Lucas' book about his time spent mentoring Jeff Buckley, could easily have carried the old blues title FATTENING FROGS FOR SNAKES. It tells of Gary's adventures with the young would-be rock-star in an ill-fated but divine venture, a group scuttled by the a&r geniuses who would rather enable the ego of a young troubled soul than to have to deal with a grown man as his partner. Not the first instance of Death By Record Contract, but certainly the best illustrated example; the work the two of them did in the short time they played together serves as a fine soundtrack.

from Music and film critic emeritus Glenn Kenny:

My friend Gary Lucas' account of his seminal collaborations with Jeff Buckley, and of his own contributions to art outside of that partnership, is an exemplary one: honest, warm, funny, and frank. He spares no one, least of all himself, and creates a moving word-portrait of the pain and glory of musical creation, while also damning all the outside (e.g. 'business') considerations that get in its way. You don't have to be a big fan of Jeff's to get something out of this book—although this book will give you a new and maybe sad respect for him, I hope. And once you've finished it, you absolutely will be a fan of Gary's.

from Music Industry pro Robert Singerman:

Gary Lucas' recently published book, "Touched By Grace—My Time with Jeff Buckley" summons the bittersweet dedication, passion, love and mysterious twists and turns of profound and temporal music and music business relationships. It's an incisive look at one key collaboration of master musicians in the business life, pursuing their dreams and calling; individually and collectively. Lucas probes his own psyche, telling his story and Jeff's story with empathy, humor, pathos and some distance from the obviously painful effects of a love and collaboration undone. While there is natural remorse, there is also redemption and an implied reconciliation in the pages and in the telling. Deep friendships exist in parallel universes perhaps forever, in dreams, beyond death, as hopefully the music and the grace lasts, too, beyond the questionable choices often made by us humans. Grasping at "reason", trying to understand and retell the stories we are and create give power to forgiveness, of ourselves, our friends, our "enemies", to circumstance and to choice, with the value of it all the remaining presence. Read it and heal the "heart bruises".

from musician Fred Perry:

Jesus, Gary, what a great book! It drew me in to the point of being eager to get home at night so I could read more, almost like a reality soap opera! As a bandleader myself, I could easily sympathize with the struggles and frustrations you went through with Jeff, and generally putting Gods and Monsters together. And what a vocabulary, both English and musical, you've got! You also really impressed me with your knowledge of the arts and culture in general. This book, in some strange way, validates and upgrades your whole career as a musician, IMHO! It's like it's on the record now, and for some people, who may not be familiar with your music, it lays out in black and white so many of the amazing things you've accomplished! And that dream at the end gave me non-stop chills!

from legendary publicist, author, and record exec Danny Goldberg:

"Touched By Grace", Gary Lucas' book about working with Jeff Buckley, is a uniquely nuanced book about a master musician's creative process, his collaboration with a tempestuous genius and the amoral vagaries of the music business in the nineteen-nineties. It is one of the best and most emotionally honest rock memoirs I've ever read.

from Gary's friend Rick Berlin:

TOUCHED BY GRACE is a detailed and at times heart-breaking remembrance by guitar master Gary Lucas about his time collaborating and performing with Jeff Buckley. The love between these two artists is as palpable as it is challenging. So rare a singer, Jeff. So heavy a loss, especially to those who knew him deeply. The book also takes you into the infested, infamous, incestual swamp of the New York City avant guard music world and industry. GRACE is a worthy, powerful and informative read. There's definitely a part of me that identifies with the guitar/singer symbiosis described here. Jeff would have, had I known him, inspired me similarly.

reader review from Sol Valdez:

I will never forget the excitement I felt when I held in my hands "Touched by Grace" for the first time. As a fan of Jeff Buckley, an artist surrounded by mystery, anytime you get the chance to know more about him it's a huge opportunity to try to get to know him and understand him a little bit more.
It occurred that a bond was created between us, I don't know how weird this may sound, but I felt this book was like a companion to me. I would never leave my house without it. I needed to read it ALL THE TIME.
Also, it made me felt like I was there while I was reading, Gary's descriptions and feelings make you feel you are part of it, i.e: The St Ann Tribute to Tim Buckley (I recommend to read it while listening to the concert).
Mr. Lucas did a great job blending both stories (his and Jeff's) and I can assure you that it will haunt you.
—5 Stars

from Bruce Waltuck:

Gary Lucas is, by any measure, one of the most gifted and versatile guitarists in the world today. He was nominated for a Grammy Award and has scored an Academy Award-nominated documentary. As composer and player, Gary has had a remarkable career working with some of the most creative musical minds in the world.
In TOUCHED BY GRACE, Gary gives us a unique memoir. As the book's subtitle tells us, this is a story about Gary's time with the talented but fatally-flawed musician Jeff Buckley. These are two huge talents, colliding in a whirlwind of collaboration, triumph, tragedy, and loss. As a memoir about two well-known creative forces, the basics of the story are likely well-known to most readers. Mr. Lucas, steeped in the traditions and techniques of the early blues masters, and refined through collaborations with a literally global array of contemporary avant-garde artists. Mr. Buckley, deep from the shadows of his father's own creative life, finding his way through the challenges of creating a new and singular voice.
The book gives us Gary Lucas's detailed account of meeting, and working with Jeff Buckley. At once a compelling story about the give-and-take of co-creation, but in this case, so much more. Lucas takes us far into the complex dynamics of hopes, dreams, deals, and betrayals, that marked both his time with Jeff Buckley, and also stain the world of music hustlers and record companies. Gary gives a highly-detailed and intimate account of life in and out of the clubs and offices of the wanna-bes, and once-weres.
The best description of the relationship between Gary Lucas and Jeff Buckley in TOUCHED BY GRACE comes from Gary himself. His time with Jeff was a love affair. Not in the romantic or physical sense. But in the powerful desire for meaning, validation, joy, and renewal, that marks every heart and mind in love. This is a great read, for both the fans of Gary Lucas, Jeff Buckley and music generally, and for anyone with curiosity and compassion about the complex interplay of two creative souls.

from Producer Peter Feldman:

Jeff Buckley was a fascinating, very special artist whose mystery, charm and incandescent charisma have been much written about. But no one knows the inside story behind the most vital period of his career like his collaborator, the peerless guitarist and writer Gary Lucas, who co-wrote some of Buckley’s best known songs with him. Lucas writes of his time with Buckley with both candor and deep affection. Anyone interested in Jeff Buckley, or the potentially volatile nature of creative collaboration will want to read 'Touched By Grace'.

from Musician Zeke Schein:

I met Gary Lucas in 1989 when I started working at Matt Umanov Guitars in Greenwich Village. Soon after Gary introduced me to Jeff Buckley. He said that they were working on music together. The raw beauty of songs like "Grace" and "Mojo Pin" are a glimpse of the magic that they created. "Touched By Grace" captures a time when artists like Gary Lucas, Jeff Buckley, John Campbell, Chris Whitley, and Willy Deville were mixing blues music with the electric poetry of the universe. It is a heartfelt story, well told and well worth reading.

from Nina Winthrop, choreographer:

This book is a wonderful read. It is about the coupling of Gary Lucas' exquisite guitar playing along with Jeff Buckley's blissful singing voice. It tells of the journeys they made together and apart.

from Film director Amos Kollek:

Hi Gary,

So I finished reading your book yesterday. I really liked it, as it gives a fascinating look at the music business from an angle not commonly written. In other words, it is not a biography of a rock 'n roll star but, much more, of a human relationship of a musician of note and a rock star. And so it gives a riveting portrait of 2 men struggling with their demons and the real world. I think the description of your "love relationship" with Jeff Buckley is both touching and real. Despite the fact, that you do not receive from the world, nor from him, all the recognition and respect you rightly deserve, you never stop loving him and trying to be of help. You do not give in to jealousy and bitterness. This is very moving. As is your own saga in the often harsh and ungrateful music world. It is a good book on its own, regardless of my obvious interest in you and Caroline, as friends of long standing. And, by the way, I was happy to find out that your treatment of Caroline in this book is both loving and respectful, as she well deserves.

Anyway, thank you for giving me this beautiful book and more power to you.


from singer Rose Whipperr:

I was enraptured by the stories so well remembered and written, so long after the fact; as well as the generosity of spirit displayed by Gary Lucas toward his subject. it mirrors my experience in the industry enough to say it is unabashedly honest, yet tempered by great humanity and generosity of spirit toward Jeff, and his memory. A must read for both musicians and fans alike!

from artist Andrea Szurczik-Wallenta:

The wonderful touching real story of two genius musicians. A look inside the music biz and a honest report about living as an independent artist. Very brilliantly written, encouraging for all artists.

from musician Mark Prescott:

Brilliantly written. Compelling, a true story. This book is all heart and Rock n Roll.

from writer Chris Burbul:

Fantastic book! Finished it about a month ago. A classic rock and roll tale well told! Bravo Gary!

from Dr. William Hurwitz:

Touched by Grace, Gary Lucas's intimate and gripping account of his tumultuous collaboration with Jeff Buckley, is the story of two artists who came together to make inspired and beautiful music. But harmony turned to discord fueled by Buckley’s pride and ambition. Like Icarus of Greek mythology whose wings failed as he flew too close to the sun, Buckley crashed when he tried to soar alone. Lucas’s language conveys both the immediacy and rawness of his emotional turmoil and the transcendent sweetness of artistic creation. More than an account setting the record straight, it is a cautionary tale of the risks of love and ambition and a testament to the fortitude, fidelity, and artistry of Gary Lucas.

from Musician & cultural pundit Dusty Wright:

Über rock guitarist Gary Lucas's loving homage to his pupil Jeff Buckley is choked full of fascinating details and minutia that apparently doomed their creative coupling from the get-go. There is no question that they are two tremendously gifted individuals, and that by joining forces they added magic to the world. And it is also quite apparent, especially when you listen to the music they created together, that theirs was a partnership that should have afforded them both so much more. Had Mr. Buckley not taken his solo flight, leaving Mr. Lucas and their Gods & Monsters to soldier on without him, who knows what magic might have been created from their continued collaboration.

At first glance some might misconstrue that Mr. Lucas and his tome are ego tripping—waxing poetic about his time spent with the venerated singer-songwriter Jeff Buckley, son of the legendary and vastly superior singer-songwriter Tm Buckley. Tragically both of whom died way too young. But that is not so, Mr. Lucas is merely setting the record straight about his involvement with the young singer-songwriter's career and about his own critically-lauded career. Ego is paramount for the super id to flourish and manifest in super creative ways. And even more so for performing on the live stages -- whether theatrical or musical. For you see, Mr. Lucas and young Mr. Buckley could wow a crowd on a live stage. (Mr. Lucas continues to do so to this day.)

Knowing Mr. Lucas as well as I do, I can honestly say that his book is more about the journey of two creative souls and the roads they both traveled -- both together and apart. It's as much a story about Gary and his career trajectory, too. And, it's the story about the master and student, the student who leaves the master, and ascends and then descends while the master can only look on and shake his head. An arduous journey that is full of all the pitfalls -- tears of joy and rage and confusion and hope and... And in the end, it was, by Mr. Lucas's account and ours, as sad a way for Mr. Buckley's journey to end so abruptly.

Drawn from diaries and writings of Mr. Lucas, this book details their first meeting and on-stage performance at St. Ann's Church in Brooklyn in 1992 for the Hal Willner-produced homage to his estranged father Tim Buckley right through their final awkward meeting and impromptu performance at the Knitting Factory 5 years later, perhaps Jeff on the cusp of superstardom. One can only imagine what might have been, if these two supremely talented musicians had continued making magic together.

As compelling a rock bio as you'll ever read and one that let's you gaze in wonder inside the mind of a genius guitarist, it is unequivocally well worth the read.

from Musician/industry vet Paul Mauceri:

A Work of Grace and Dignity

As someone who spends way too much of his (limited) free time reading books about music and the music industry, Gary Lucas’s “Touched By Grace: My Time With Jeff Buckley” was a no-brainer. As a friend and fan of Gary Lucas and an admirer of Jeff Buckley’s considerable talents and his too limited output due to his all too brief time on Earth, I figured this would be a welcome addition to my growing library of rock and roll reads. What I didn’t know beforehand was, like others who have reviewed this book here, once I started reading it I could not put it down; I think I tore through it in something like three days. Had I not had other things to do, like go to a job, for example, or sleep, I can see myself having read it all in one sitting. It is that engrossing. Lucas’s words flow with the same eloquence, passion, and lyricism of his extraordinary (and very underappreciated) guitar playing, and the vicissitudes of the story mirror his career as an artist. Several famous and noteworthy musicians make appearances and are referenced throughout the book (including my uncle Maestro John Mauceri, who Lucas namechecks early on when writing about his “first major professional experience” as a member of the Yale Symphony Orchestra, for which he was featured solo guitarist when they performed the European premiere of Leonard Bernstein’s “Mass,” and received high praise from Lenny himself!). He leaves it all there on the page, and we readers are the beneficiaries of his tale of the sparks that ignited, and subsequently imploded, one of the great but unfulfilled musical collaborations of the late 20th century.

The joining of forces of these two formidable, but ultimately incompatible talents – due to the typical power struggles and ego trips that seem to go with pursuing a music career, rather than creative differences – is a tragedy of near Shakespearian proportions. Being the astute and erudite musician Gary Lucas is, he of course knew Tim Buckley’s music well at the time of his fateful encounter with Tim’s estranged son Jeff in preparation for a tribute concert for the elder Buckley in Brooklyn, NY, and he was quick to pick up on the younger Buckley’s obvious talent and potential. Lucas himself had only fairly recently at the time thrown caution to the wind and decided to follow his true calling as a professional musician (at age 35), giving up a secure but soul-destroying career in the music industry itself as an ad copyist for CBS Records (he coined the slogan “The Only Group That Matters” for The Clash). As a solo guitarist, he helped put famed NYC avant-garde institution The Knitting Factory on the map with his concerts there and as part of their tour packages throughout Europe. Prior to this however, he had himself arrived on the musical map as a member of the last incarnation of musical innovator Captain Beefheart’s Magic Band, joining as a full-fledged member for their last official album release Ice Cream for Crow. Unsurprisingly, Beefheart’s challenging and uncategorizable brand of blues-poetry-polyrhythmic-psychedelic-freak rock was not destined for any commercial success (the fact that a major label actually signed them seems miraculous given the state of the music industry in recent years; today a major label wouldn’t give an artist like Beefheart the time of day, let alone an actual deal).

Being the astute and erudite musician Jeff Buckley was (despite his GIT background and apparent ability to duplicate Rush guitar solos note-for-note), he was well aware of Lucas’s Beefheart credentials, which commanded instant respect in the young musician, and the two started hanging out and writing together in Lucas’s West Village apartment after performing together at the Tim Buckley tribute concert, with Lucas taking on a mentor-like role to the budding rock star. Lucas had his own band, Gods and Monsters, which had a revolving cast (including alt rocker Matthew Sweet) and Buckley eventually became the de facto lead singer. Lucas’s vision was for Jeff and he to become the modern equivalent of Robert Plant and Jimmy Page, and he cites the almighty Zeppelin as a primary influence on his band, showing that his and Buckley’s musical tastes, as refined and protean as they were, were not above artists who had achieved massive commercial success.

This is basically the setup for the ensuing drama of Lucas’s and Buckley’s creative/professional relationship. We all know what eventually happened to Jeff Buckley but this book details what has to be considered a key and pivotal partnership in his brief career. Case in point: the very first two tracks on the one and only official Jeff Buckley album, Grace – “Mojo Pin” and “Grace” – were co-written with Lucas and were staples in Gods and Monsters’ set during Buckley’s tenure in the band. Lucas describes in striking, intimate detail the head and soul space he was in when he came up with the music for these two groundbreaking compositions, offering us a rare glimpse into the mysteries of the creative process. I remember several years ago when I interviewed Gary for the newsletter of the company I worked at (The Harry Fox Agency), he described these two compositions as “templates for a new kind of pop song.” Early on in “Touched By Grace,” he references “Strawberry Fields Forever” as emblematic of what his ultimate vision was for his band: taking pop music into new directions while still maintaining its accessibilty.

But, alas, it wasn’t meant to be, as Jeff Buckley wanted ultimately to be a solo artist and not to have to share the spotlight with anyone. Whether or not he intentionally used Lucas as a stepping stone to further his own career remains conjecture, though it seems highly plausible given how events unfolded in this story. He seems to have had an innate ability to manipulate people to do his bidding, especially a major record label, which ended up giving him a deal that most artists would kill for, allowing him all kinds of creative freedom and, especially, plenty of time to figure out his artistic vision. Clearly the surname “Buckley” came with perks, not to mention also being handsome, charming, and charismatic. Lucas relates one particular incident involving two other more established Gods and Monsters members that I found particularly shocking (and about which I will not write anything further so as not to spoil any more than I already have).

Jeff Buckley was also most likely influenced by the industry contacts he and Lucas shared as a result of their affiliation, some of whom in all likelihood convinced him to break away from Lucas and go solo. While this may be understandable on one level, at the same time it seems unfair and ungrateful and it is hard not to sympathize with Lucas over his disappointment and heartbreak when Jeff quits Gods and Monsters right at the time they seem poised on the verge of breaking.

It is clear after reading the book that Jeff Buckley was filled with a host of contradictions. For starters, he wanted to completely dissassociate himself from his father’s legacy, understandable given he hardly knew him, but then he chose music as a career. And even a perfunctory listen of Tim Buckley reveals that Jeff Buckley’s vocal stylings were clearly heavily influenced by his father. He also wanted to maintain a certain hipster/alternative cred yet ended up signing a recording contract with the biggest record company in the world: Sony. He wanted to be his own solo artist yet had to rely on the songwriting of others to have a full length album (of the ten tracks on Grace, only three are solely credited to Jeff Buckley, four are co-writes, and three are covers). As he was working on his follow up to Grace, we learn in the book that Buckley had a dearth of new material and asked Lucas for more songs. We also learn that towards the end of his life he had apparently been more than dabbling in that cliche of maladjusted rock star recreations: heroin.

All this is not in any way to undermine the extraordinary talent that was Jeff Buckley or lessen the fact that his tragic early demise was indeed a huge loss to the music world. Nor does Lucas begrudge Buckley his immense talent at any point in his book; he acknowledges him as one of, if not the, most important of all his collaborators (a huge statement considering how many he has had in his career). Lucas paints a portrait of a talented but terribly confused, malcontented young man who ends up in a situation in which he finds he has very little control. It is sad and heartbreaking to read about how unhappy Jeff Buckley was toward the end of his life. It’s a shame he couldn’t embody the lyrics of one of his better known covers: “Satisfied Mind,” by Joe “Red” Hayes and Jack Rhodes. It has even been suggested that his accidental drowning in the Missisippi River was in fact a suicide, but such speculation seems to only serve the whole myth and legend making aspect of his tragically short life. Who knows though? (As a side note, in the leader of the band Soul Coughing Mike Doughty’s funny and poignant memoir “The Book of Drugs,” about his days wallowing in the throes of drug addiction and subsequent recovery, he comments on Jeff Buckley’s premature death with something along the lines of “Great! Now you’re a legend!”) It has often been said that dying prematurely can sometimes be an artist’s best career move. But there definitely was something unique about Jeff Buckley and there is no question we lost someone special when he waded into the banks of the Wolf River that fateful day never to return alive again.

Despite the disappointment and pain Lucas endured over the fallout of his and Jeff Buckley’s partnership, the music they made together endures, both as band mates in Gods and Monsters and on the album Grace, which to this day is considered one of the hallmark rock albums of the ‘90’s. And although he considered himself at the time of Jeff Buckley’s departure from Gods and Monsters as “ indie hell for the rest of my career,” Gary Lucas, through hard work and sheer determination, has risen above tremendous obstacles to carve out a brilliant career for himself. Indie artist or not, his work – whether as a solo guitarist, band leader and songwriter, composer of soundtracks to old silent movies, or collaborator with other major creative talents around the world – is always of consistently high quality and uncompromising. If anything, he is one of those artists who I feel safe categorizing as “too good for his own good” (other great artists like this who come to mind, and of whom I am a huge fan, are Richard Thompson and Mike Viola). At the end of the day, it is about the art and not the numbers. Gary Lucas and Jeff Buckley were unquestionably kindred spirits and they created magic together. For Jeff Buckley fans, “Touched By Grace” is an absolute must read. But more importantly, it is a must read for music fans.

Read a review from critic Rob Patterson

from Guitar Player Magazine writer Vinnie DeMaso:

Hi Gary I loved the book..It was very detailed and extremely well written. Thank you so much for sending. It was a big help in the article and I made sure to acknowledge your composing contributions and "Magicalguitarness" on Grace. Was also glad to see you in there this issue with Peter Hammill. I WILL send you a CD. I was away this week visiting family but am flying home tonite. My best to you Gary, and I look forward to hearing you/meeting you soon.
I will give you a heads up when the article hits the newsstand!

from Screenwriter Francis McCarthy:

Even if you know nothing about Gary Lucas, Jeff Buckley or the music business, this sad heartfelt account of a band that might have been but never was will tell you all you need to know. Gary Lucas has bared his soul in an account of unrequited musical love, painful, touching, and for all that, compulsively readable. That one of the lovers survived to tell the tale is grace enough for us all.

from Tim Lucas, editor of "Video Watchdog", contributor to "Sight and Sound", author of "Mario Bava: All the Colors of the Dark":

Finished reading Gary Lucas' eloquent, searing and altogether spellcasting memoir of his turbulent association with the late Jeff Buckley. It brought me into the presence of music I can only imagine and emotions I haven't had to. It is one of the best accounts of a musical relationship I've read, as well as one of the most vivid accounts of how petty and squalid the music business and its adherents can be, and very much a love letter. When it ends, it hurts.

from Entertainment attorney Michael Ackerman:

A great look inside a creative partnership, creativity in general, and sadly a lost soul. Also informative in the difficulty of finding creative partners and keeping them, as well as accurately depicting the struggle to get one's art before a larger audience. I was a participant and or observer for many of the events depicted in the book and Gary Lucas does a fine job of recreating them here.

from Artist Bill Mutter:


Just finished reading your book and needed to say how much it moved me. There's so much sorrow, and so much joy; this is not a book that one can just "like".

And reading about your relationship with Jeff, I was reminded of these words from an ee cummings poem:

"singing each morning out of each night
my father moved through depths of height"

from poet Mick Stern:

To paraphrase the ancient Greeks, "Those whom the gods wish to destroy, they first make rock and roll stars." In Gary Lucas’s absorbing first-hand account of the brief, dazzling career of Jeff Buckley, the young singer’s fate seems almost absurdly overdetemined. Heir to the talent of a father he never knew, handsome, insecure, a great but naive artist adrift in the shark-infested music industry, he evidently had no inner compass. As his chief collaborator both in song-writing and performance, Lucas records his efforts to provide Buckley with some guidance and common sense, but Buckley was apparently not paying attention. Only Lucas’ efforts to expand the singer's musical education bore fruit. Lucas himself achieved his special nexus of fame as an avant-garde rocker in the old school of hard knocks. In terms of longevity, he has more in common with the old blues masters than he does with than the lastest pop idol. One of the most interesting aspects of this book is his description of the treachery and egotism of the music industry, and how hard it is for a non-commercial musician to survive. In addition to providing Buckley’s fans with a feast of anecdotes, this book tells it like it is in the music biz, especially for independent and alternative musicians. Lucas writes in clear, straightforward prose, like Keith RIchards, except his vocabulary is bigger.

from author/musician Jim Christopulos:

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.

from Jonathan First, president of United World Sports, LLC:


We met many years ago when I was in the music business as a manager. It was at one of your shows and it was in passing, but I do remember you.
I just read Touched By Grace and wanted to reach out to you. What a great book! I actually know many of the people in this book and have the same feelings about some. I was introduced to Jeff Buckley by a young kid who was interning for me at my company, John McNally, who played drums on some of Jeff's demos. I was not comfortable with the situation and passed on the opportunity to work with Jeff.
Anyway, I really just wanted to tell you how much I enjoyed the book and your writing. It is one of the most insightful books I have read in a very long time.

Best regards,


from photographer David Michael Kennedy:

Gary Lucas's book about his time spent mentoring Jeff Buckley touched my soul. It truly shows Gary’s soul, understanding, and loyalty as well as being a great read. The book brought back a magical time for me, as Gary and I sort of grew up together, in the music industry, when we were both beginning, me as a photographer and Gary as a musician. Thank you Gary for writing this so well.

from Martine Turgeon, PhD Psychology with a specialty in Auditory and Music Perception:

Perhaps Gary Lucas was touched by Grace when he met the charismatic and enchanting boy with a heavenly voice and devilish presence, but Jeff Buckley was touched by Gods and Monsters and their gifted and generous master. I am left with a lot of sweet and sour impressions after reading this honest account of Gary Lucas. Two impressions come to the fore. First, Jeff was human, all too human, with all that entails. I was so enthralled by his gift of fire that I had almost put him on a divine pedestal before reading this book. His legacy is not less majestic but is couched in reality. The second strong impression is that Jeff would not have reached such heights if he had not come to N.Y. and passed through the God and Monsters' school. Gary opened his heart & soul and gave his crafty-guitarist hands to that young man waiting to be 'in the fire'; and he said: "And you will Rise Up To Be..."

and the rest is history.

from musician Joe Verga:


I just finished reading your book, Touched By Grace, and I just wanted to drop you a line to commend you. I really enjoyed it. Your relationship with Jeff was very interesting and very emotional. Your commentary on the music business was also very enlightening. I’m 48 and I grew up in Brooklyn and now live in New Jersey, so reading about the New York music scene made the book even more fun to read. I am familiar with lots of the clubs mentioned in the book and The Village, though most of my visits are to Joe’s Pub where my wife and I regularly catch The Loser’s Lounge tribute shows every few months.

The book sent me to Youtube to check out your performances with Jeff and your solo work. You really are an amazing guitarist. I really like Mojo Pin and I love Christmas in Space. I’m still shaking my head trying to figure out how you make the sounds you do.

As a hobby, I play guitar and sing with my friends at some Over 55 and Assisted Living Adult Communities in town. I have a great time performing for the folks, who are very appreciative. It gives me great pleasure to play music for them and to bring a smile to their face. It is a way of giving back to the community. Since I sing, I’m just a strummer and my friend does all the soloing or “heavy lifting” as I call it. Even though we’re just fooling around with music, I still found your book highlighted the point that members of a band all need each other to function as a unit and as soon as one member (usually the lead singer) thinks he or she can step out alone or has more pull than the other members, things usually break down. Maybe you can’t sing as well as the lead singer, but maybe he can’t play the guitar or write a song as well as you can. It is funny that at the same time that I finished your book, I then picked up Guitar Player magazine, which was sitting, waiting to be read after I finished your book, and there you are with your new record. Having just finished the book and seeing the problems you had with Jeff, it was very ironic to see how you got along with Pete to create the record. Good luck with the new record. I’m definitely going to take a listen.

I know that I’m just a nobody who likes music and plays for fun, but your story provides much guidance on how to work together with fellow players, whether in a professional setting or simply when having fun. I never step on anyone’s toes and I’m always willing to try new things. I also recognize that while I may handle the singing, I’m not good enough to play leads. So, everyone does their part and things usually work out well, even if we’re just jamming, volunteering to play, or getting paid (I still can’t believe we get a little money—enough to keep us in picks n’ strings as I say). I became the singer by default because nobody in our adult guitar class wanted to sing. I took a chance even though I didn’t consider myself a singer and I had no training, but from that moment several years ago, everyone looks to me to sing, which I don’t mind since performing is definitely the most fun and thrilling experience I’ve ever had, but the downside is that while I’ve improved on guitar, I would like to get better to play some leads on occasion, but it is tough to sing and play (though not for you). Maybe someday if I keep practicing. Unfortunately, work gets in the way.

Anyway, just wanted to let you know how much I enjoy the book, your music, and your approach to music and your fellow musicians. It is very inspiring. And the fact that you are a local guy from NYC makes it sweeter.

I wish you the best in the future and hope to see you perform one day. Until then, I’ll keep listening to your music and reading about you.


Joe Verga

Read a 5 Star Goodreads review of Gary's book "Touched By Grace: My Time with Jeff Buckley" from Pablo Cordero

From a fan after Gary's instore signing and performance at Bookbook in the West Village on 11/4/13:


I ran into you a few years ago at a book signing for a book on Shel Silverstein. And you remembered that about 30 years previous, I had contacted you to try to publish a few of Don's poems in Appearances Magazine.

I was in a cab on Bleecker St last night and saw you playing in the front of Book Book. I pulled the cab over, went in, saw that it was a book launch, bought the book and listened. I wanted to say hello, but you never stopped playing and with a hyperglycemic wife, supper can't wait.

Funny how lives can cross. My ex-girlfriend back in the '60s, Anne Marie Micklo, knew Tim Buckley quite well. she had been a writer for Rock Magazine and later managed Little Feat, The Doobie Brothers and one or two more before the life almost killed her. She had interviewed Tim for an article and they stayed in touch. I remember when Jeff was born. Anne Marie attended Tim's funeral. She said that she never saw anyone who could consume so much drugs.

I look forward to reading your book. What occurred to me as I was listening to you play, was how grateful that beaten up old guitar must be to have you to help it sing it's heart out.

stay well


from music critic emeritus Mike Shore:

Disclaimer: Gary quotes me by name in the very first paragraph of the prologue of this book. I'm pleased and privileged to have been friends with Gary for more than 3 decades now. Telling you that right off the top is, I feel, fully in keeping with the spirit of Touched By Grace. What I love so much about this book, what I think makes it so valuable, is that the good folks at Jawbone Press did not over-edit it; it is SO much like literally just sitting and talking with Gary! Being able to hang with such a brilliant guitarist, who's managed to remain a great guy and functioning human, is its own reward. But on top of that, we learn so much from Touched By Grace — about what it means to be a creative musician, and a working musician, and to straddle and oscillate between the worlds of big-bucks corporate record labels (where Gary worked for years as a successful CBS Records copy writer) and low-budget cult stardom. We taste the highs and lows of collaboration with charismatic characters like Don Van Vliet and Jeff Buckley. Gary imparts his hard-won wisdom with an unfailing honesty and lack of pretension that are, by turns and often at once, disarmingly candid, refreshingly myth-busting, and brutally times self-deprecatingly so. Yes, I am a friend of Gary's, but it is my honest and considered opinion that while he's not as brilliant a writer as he is a guitarist (and given what a phenomenal guitarist he is, that's still pretty high praise!), Touched By Grace is a lot like Gary's nonpareil playing in that it is singular, powerful, and from the heart. Time spent with Touched By Grace is time well spent, and you are sure to come out of it loving and respecting the man and his story as much as his music.

from guitarist/poet Craig Chalone:

An extrasensory paper route that reads like a chrism for 2 comets: One who fell in love with the moon, and Mr. Lucas who continues to divine stardust with a grace all his own.

from Facebook friend Rich Robinson:

To say this book is an "account" of a collaboration by two musicians with a dream to create beautiful music is like saying Romeo and Juliet was a "love story". Although, after reading it I feel like this is a modern "classic/tragedy" in its truest form.
I came by this book not as a Jeff Buckley fan but via the music of the author, attending one of his many gigs, this one being in Liverpool, England, where this book was on sale.
Wanting to learn more of Gary's work, after Captain Beefheart I thought this may fill in a few gaps.
I can say without doubt this one of the finest books I have read in many a year.
Set amongst a backdrop of the wheeling and dealing, greasy handshakes and back stabbing music industry, Mr. Lucas through exquisitely detailed cinematic writing, transports the reader back in time and space to place you right there in amid the ensuing story.
With all the heroes, villains and dare I say Gods and Monsters this book is a must for all music lovers, whither you are a fan of Jeff Buckley or Gary Lucas or not, it is a gripping, totally absorbing read, and I feel it must have cost the author many a heartache and tears to put the truth down on paper. In a sense it is a love story, but every emotion comes into play here, friendship, anger, betrayal, distrust but most of all love.
Not just an account but a full blown epic.

from Amazon's Mike McIntyre:

I absolutely loved the book and have been following your work as early as I can remember and I am still floored by your playing. I have spent close to 30 years introducing your playing and recordings to people who would tell me about how inventive their "favorite guitarists" were/are and gladly turned a lot of people onto your stuff (not to mention I think a bunch of musicians still ripped off your style (late 70's punk/new wave scene for one, but that's a whole other story for another time)...Well..Thank you for the past 30+ years of new discoveries for me. I appreciate it.

from Gary's friend Robert Melvin Rubin:

Touched by Grace is a remarkable musical odyssey as well as an incisive portrait of the music business through the eyes of a brilliant guitarist who only wants to make great music but ends up getting eaten alive by industry sharks. From Captain Beefheart to Jeff Buckley and beyond, Touched by Grace collects the stories and observations of a great musician, songwriter, and raconteur. I had the pleasure and privilege of being Gary's partner in the 1980's in Upside Records, which brought out acts ranging from Charles Brown and James Carr to Arthur Russell and Jonathan Richman. Gary's personal and musical integrity shines through the muck of the business end of things, as he takes us through four decades of music at the crossroads of roots and avant garde.

from Caroline, wife of Gary's UK collaborator Tim Watt:

Dear Gary, I am not sure you remember me but I'm Caroline — the girlfriend of Tim Watt who sang with you at Shakespeare and Company in Paris recently. We purchased your book after the performance that night and we proceeded to read it aloud to each other in the evenings together. We have just finished the book and we thought it would be nice to give some praise. We found the book extremely well-written and very addictive! Tim knew a lot about Jeff Buckley and yourself but there was a great deal of information that neither of us knew about which was very interesting to discover. We could really feel how much Jeff meant to you and at the same time sympathize with your struggles at times with the relationship. By the end we were very moved. Thank you for giving an honest insight into this part of your life. On a side note, I must say i really loved the two videos of Mojo Pin and Grace where Tim sings with you. I know he was extremely proud to sing alongside you and to be given such a great opportunity. We watched the videos at my parents' apartment in Paris the other day and the emotion you deliver in the guitar playing is something we can't quite put our finger on exactly but it breathes life into these songs. I wish you and your wife a very happy new year. Maybe we will see you again in Paris sometime.


My heartfelt congratulations to the amazing musician Gary Lucas, for his courage and passion. "Touched by Grace—My Time with Jeff Buckley" by Gary Lucas brings us an intensive reading, filled with a dangerous honesty about two persons that were destinated to be together through the magic of Music.

As well as I am deeply honored to be part of this story, of this book of courage and passion for Music, Life and Truth.

Also, I would like to thank here Jawbone (publisher) for sending me a copy of the book "Touched by Grace—My Time with Jeff Buckley" by Gary Lucas.

Diana Silveira, Lagos Portugal (performed with Gary at the Knitting Factory Jeff Buckley Tribute NYC March 2011)

from singer/songwriter Stuart Anthony:

Jeff Buckley fans should read this book by seminal guitarist Gary Lucas. Full of beautiful honesty. I found it hard to put down.

from fan Greg Rosendin:

Hi Gary, just finished your book.. WOW.. Thank you for penning such an honest and un-influenced read about your experiences.. It doesn't only shine a light on your relationship with Jeff, but also so interesting to read about your own struggles, perseverance and accomplishments. I appreciated it!

from Gary's friend Heather Berniker:

I finally finished the book last night and had tears pouring down my face. I felt for you so much throughout this outpouring of love and angst. I certainly understand you so much more now.

from Italian fan Veronica Stammera:

Gary Lucas....great heart..soul and mind..."Touched by Grace" my favourite book..the best one.

from fan Thony Christopher on Twitter:

Just got a signed copy of your book courtesy of @elegantfowl Great read, can't put it down! ;)

Fan mail about Gary's Touched By Grace" show at the Southbank Centre in London 11/14/13

Check out a letter Gary received from Claudio Conti, a fan from Sardinia.

Thanks again for your music and for your beautiful pages, one of the very few musical books not boring!!! —Andrea Morandi, Italian music journalist and host of Lucas' FNAC Megastore Milano book presentation

from Italian fan Giovan Battsta D'Achille:

Hey man, a friend gave me your book "Touched by Grace" for Christmas, I began to read, appreciate your relentless sincerity! It's so interesting to discover the circumstances that led to a piece of music to be born, to influence our lives and the lives of those who listen, nothing is random...I'm realizing that behind your words, there is also the part of the suffering that always accompanies the creative process, so to honor your talent, you would not be able to stay at CBS; the challenge is a sacred territory for artists, you needed of this: take up the challenge. Jeff, with his natural strength came in just at the right time. Maybe they have understood what was missing in your life and what you wanted to achieve. When two talents come together and work together, it ignites a spark of work out of time. You were diamonds thrown in the mud of business .. I don't know if in English sounds good, but this is my sensation... again best wishes for U, Gary. Thanks for to share your experience.. is important. Gio

from Italian Facebook friend Vic Firth:

I've found your book looking for something that would explain better the work between you and Jeff Buckley. So when I read somewhere that Gary Lucas wrote a book about his music with Jeff Buckley I knew that I had found what I was looking for.
As you said in one of your interviews: "this book is not a biography"; in fact is much more.
Reading it, I often stopped to read again a few sentences, for example when you said that you believe firmly that 99% of success lies in getting noticed. Moreover when you state that "If you have more than one talent and you're good at so many things, people end up focusing on the less successful. There's only pure jealousy". In addition: "The leap from major and minor, blends sweet and bitter, as in life."
You wrote that you adore it, and I adore it too.
So I mentioned these sentences because these thoughts are the same that I've often in my head!
Probably this is one of the reason why I liked the book. I can also say that for young musicians, as me, that want to know more and more about great masters this book is very essential.
To conclude I wanted to say that the chords of "Grace" and “Mojo Pin" and the songs in their complexity are masterpieces. In addition I would really like to have been present at the Greetings from Tim Buckley concert at the Church of Saint Ann, to listen to you play for the first time together!
I'm sorry if I made some mistakes in writing, but I'm Italian!
So, greetings from Italy!

from Italian musician Carmelo Iocolano from Sicilian band Leefa:

This morning I finished reading your book. I must say to you that it made me cry. I cried for how it ended the life of Jeff, but mostly I cried for joy. because I was able to appreciate the strength of a person like you. A person who is always raised. A person with a great soul. A person with a great sense of humanity and heart. And of course a great musician. But I think your biggest quality is the love with which respects all people. I was deeply touched by your book and by your soul. Thank you for always Gary.
Have a good weekend.
Your friend Carmelo.

from Italian musician/photographer Luca Cirillo:

Hello Mr Lucas,
I'm Luca...Luke for friends...I'm an Italian musician, actually I'm working with Emma, the most important young Italian singer.
I bought your's AMAZING.
Thank you for all...I'm in love for your book..humanity, friendship, passion, tears, hearty laugh...ART. Ciao from Rome. Sincerely.
ps. sorry for my terrible English!

from Italian singer Mari Conti:

Reading "Touched by Grace" has been for me like going through the story of the human and professional fellowship between you and Jeff.
You were not spare in telling the details about the joys and sorrows linked to your strong friendship with him, where sharing the same dream in creating sacred music in the service of the divine was the flame "of the love that burns so strong and will always be in my heart", as you mention in your book.
Gary, I thank you for making me feel the threshold of your emotions and for wanting to share them with the rest of the world. It was like going back in time and looking at you and Jeff through a magnifying glass through the words of your book. Thank you for telling the prelude, the appearance, but most of all the background of your friendship with Jeff, and to make him "human" and real to those who, like me, often thought about him only as a great genius , forgetting about his weaknesses, fears and pains of his brief and intense existence. So intense, like that same flame that will burn forever...

from Italian vocalist Alessio Franchini:

Oh my God Gary...I've just finished your book and I'm totally into the emotions. I won't go to technical comments, I'm gonna send you all my pure emotional feedbacks. I think that an artist cares and appreciates this side much more than the technical one.

It's so sad, on the one hand, because It's possible to feel how much you loved Jeff and your pain when you lost him definitely. You were together and you lost this contact twice. I'm sad because of the loss of the music that I'm sure you could have created together again. And because of the tragedy of the facts, it's very intense.

Now I also understand much better your feelings, and I'll be much more conscious of the place I hold when I play next to you.

What you wrote is what I wanted to know about: the real facts. That makes me love Jeff much more then before. Now he's finally "real", not just the's much more interesting now.

The thing I liked the most about the book is...that it is YOUR story. That it is a book about YOU. It's possible to know your person and how you lived your life during that time and how Jeff arrived and stayed into your life.

I'm happy that I know you much better now.


It's so emotional, so emotional, so...emotional.

You know that I lost some people I loved very much, and it's so sad sometimes because it's very difficult to live and go ahead. But I also say that I'm lucky because I had the opportunity to live with them in my life and to have so many nice moments and nice memories with them. Everyone manages his pain his way, but I know that at the end you felt lucky that you had Jeff in your life with all his good and bad sides. You're the one who had him mostly, and from his best side, his artistic side. I'm sure he felt lucky too, to have had you in his life, on your best side, your artistic one.

Gary, with this book, you gave me and the world something very special, you know it. That will remain forever.

from Yuliana Galitskaya Mahler:

I read your book in four days. It was a riveting, can't put the book down read. So open. I found it very well written and very revealing. One really gets an insight into your music writing - as well as thought - processes.

from Ali Schneekloth:

Reading the first page of "Touched By Grace" I instantly felt the deep seated, intense emotions Gary had to offer. "Touched By Grace" keeps you eagerly engaged, and is a non-stop deep read from start to finish. How the album "Grace" came to be is rooted in pure, raw organic ground that is to be kept sacred. The Kindred Spirits connection you feel between Jeff Buckley and Gary Lucas is overpowering and extremely moving. "Touched By Grace" is a must read!

from Italian fan Valentina Villa:

Gary, this book introduced me to the human aspects of a great artist, a myth, that many of us have known only through the media. It's nice to follow the story through your eyes, the eyes of someone who was really a friend of his. It's also nice because your character shines through the narrative. Thank you for writing it! BRAVO!

from Italian fan Luca Casarin:

Hi Gary, how are you?

Grace...., it sounds like the Italian word, Grazie...:)

And that's the reason why I'm writing you.

I have just finished to read your book after few days and i found it amazing!!
Maybe I'm not an expert about music, but i read many books in my life and this one of the best I have ever read. I was simply touched by your story and I just wanted to thank you for having written it.

All the best,


I'm reading your book Touched by Grace. I think it's amazing, thank you!
—Italian rock vocalist Massimiliano Lalli

Wow—I loved it! I thought it was honest, balanced, and above all, beautiful.
—Tanya Weiman, webmaster

Immediately upon opening "Touched by Grace: My Time with Jeff Buckley" and beginning my journey of reading this beautiful book, I knew I was going to have a difficult time tearing myself away from it. As a fifteen year veteran high school English instructor, I know an exceptional book when I read it. This book is remarkable for all the right reasons. As a writer, Gary Lucas seductively invites the reader into his world with his passionate, intelligent, and witty writing style. The actual tale he has to tell keeps the reader engaged until the bittersweet conclusion. Given the tragic early demise of Jeff Buckley and the brilliant yet precarious collaboration between Lucas and Buckley, the book doesn't end with the quintessential "happily ever after" ending. Yet somehow, Lucas ultimately seems to overcome personal and professional obstacles and adversity to eventually embrace his own version of happily ever after – in the form of fulfilling his dream of becoming an internationally renowned guitarist. For anyone who ever wanted to gain insight about the music business or simply just to have an intimate voyeuristic glimpse into a guitar legend's thoughts, feelings, and interactions with Jeff Buckley, this book is a must read.
—Maya Kassab, US high school English teacher on the new English language edition of "Touched By Grace" from Jawbone Press, 10/17/13

The publication of Gary's "Touched by Grace" book coincided with a spate of new Jeff Buckley related activity, including a gala concert Gary gave at the famous Paradiso venue in Amsterdam on Sept. 4th 2012 titled "The Music of Jeff Buckley and Gary Lucas" which featured the 60-piece Metropole Orchestra, Italian vocalist Alessio Franchini, and several Dutch singers performing symphonic arrangements of a dozen Lucas/Buckley songs.

Gary rocks "Grace" with vocalist Alessio Franchini at sold-out show in Milano's Shambala Club on the occasion of the publication of his book "Touched by Grace" 9/2012:

Gary's book also coincided with the premiere of a new film about Jeff Buckley's early days in NYC, "Greetings from Tim Buckley", directed by Dan Algrant and starring Penn Badgley (Gossip Girl), in which Gary is portrayed by Tony-award winning actor Frank Wood. The film screened for the first time at the Toronto Film Festival on September 9th 2012 to rave reviews, and was recently picked up for distribution by Tribeca Film and Focus World for release in cinemas worldwide in spring 2013.

Read a review from The Hollywood Reporter.

Stay tuned for more news about "Touched by Grace"!


Out now on Jawbone Press

Gary and Jeff Buckley, Coney Island, 2/92
photo by Chris Buck

Legendary Italian singer/songwriter Vinicio Caposella reads his tribute to Jeff while Gary improvises at the Barezzi Festival Parma Italy 10/24/13, where Gary received a Lifetime Achievement Award

Gary reads from his new book at a packed instore appearance at Shakespeare and Co. in Paris 11/7/13—every book sold!

The brilliant Italian artist Vinicio Capossela and Gary at the "Moon in June" Festival in Isola Maggiore Umbria 6/22/15

Gary, NYC 1/12/17