Tim Buckley, who died tragically after ingesting heroin at the age of 28, was a unique American singer and musician, who began with a folk sound that was well received in coffeehouses and in Greenwich Village. With time, however, his sound evolved from folk to folk-rock, then to a blues/jazz style, and later to jazz and country western, and soul and funk. As part of the sixties' generation, Buckley was searching for his own sound--a producer described him as "not comfortable in his own skin"--but, at the same time, he seemed affected by the cultural times and the growing dissatisfaction of young people with the Vietnam War and the restrictions of what they perceived as a stodgy older generation.
While he disliked comparisons to Bob Dylan, nevertheless, Tim Buckley's music reflects his experiences and the culture around him, as do Dylan's lyrics. But, of course, he had a much more melodic sound to his voice and his lines were more naturally lyrical. As his career advanced, Buckley's focus was introspective and directed toward the psychological affects of the Vietnam War and the political scene of his times. He became an interpreter of life through music.
After his friend and lyricist Beckett was drafted into the Army, Buckley changed his focus to jazz; he examined the music of Thelonious Monk, Roland Kirk, and vocalist Leon Thomas (as a child, he mother had him listen to jazz). His subsequent album, therefore, differed greatly from previous ones, exhibiting "high shrieks to deep, soulful baritone."
Perhaps, like so many others of his age, Tim Buckley searched for something unattainable. His different musical styles, his experiments with drugs, and his turbulent relationships all came to a tragic end in 1975.