Garland Jeffreys’ latest release, The King Of In Between, is the work of a mature artist and the distillation of his long career dedicated to addressing socially conscious themes across a broad range of musical styles. He’s been called an edgy urban poet, the sound of New York, a confessional singer-songwriter, and an explorer of the links between rock, race and rebellion whose work should be taught in schools. With songs covered by artists as diverse as punk pioneers The Circle Jerks (“Wild in the Streets”) and the neo-folk band Vetiver (“Lon Chaney”), Jeffreys is truly unclassifiable.
After a string of records in the seventies including American Boy and Girl, One-Eyed Jack and Ghost Writer, the eighties brought the fiercely rocking Escape Artist, which yielded radio favorites “R.O.C.K.” and a cover of garage classic “96 Tears.” After Guts for Love, a record chronicling the ups and downs of a long-term relationship, Jeffreys took a long hiatus before returning with Don’t Call Me Buckwheat, a complex and searingly honest exploration of being biracial in America.
Prior to the release of The King Of In Between, it had been thirteen years since Jeffreys put out a full album of new music, the last being Wildlife Dictionary, released only in Europe. He took a number of years off to spend time raising his daughter. “Walking with her through Stuyvesant Park, taking her to pre-school in the morning, both of us singing at the top of our lungs, were some of my most treasured times. I really wanted to be there for her.” In recent years, he’s been performing in both Europe and the States, working with two bands, and acoustically with his long time accompanist Alan Freedman. “I enjoy performing more and more, and I love hanging out with the audience after the show. It’s nothing like the old days, when it wasn’t cool to do that.” He’s been a part of numerous benefits for organizations such as the annual Light of Day Concert in Asbury Park, and Solidays in France, an AIDS awareness event, as well as more grass-roots efforts such as last spring’s community-sponsored Rock for Haiti concert to benefit Doctors Without Borders and shows to help with medical expenses for Alejandro Escovedo and Arthur Lee of Love. Most recently he returned to The Irish Rock Revue to benefit Bowery Mission and joined New York Hospitals and Health Corporation’s first concert series to raise funds for much needed hospital equipment. He’s also taken his message of racial tolerance into middle and high schools.
“I’m at a wonderful point in my life. I couldn’t be happier with the new record. It’s been a labor of love and it’s completely true to me, a real reflection of everything I stand for.”
“Before Beck, there was Garland Jeffreys.” — Toronto Star
“Had he been born earlier, Mr. Jeffreys could have had a career as a jazz singer…had he been born later, he might have been a peer to Citizen Cope and Ben Harper, who mix up their playlists and benefit from followings not bound by the dictates of radio.” — Wall Street Journal