The quintessential New York City musician
With his most recent album entitled 14 Steps to Harlem (2017 on his label Luna Park Records) and a feature documentary in progress, Garland Jeffreys continues to defy expectations. A Brooklyn native “who could fairly be called the quintessential New York City musician” (East Hampton Star) and “an explorer of the links between rock, race and rebellion” (The New Yorker), after a long hiatus Garland Jeffreys came roaring back into the spotlight with 2011’s The King of In Between. “As good a classic roots rock record as you’re going to hear from anybody” (NPR) the album earned raves, landed on numerous best of the year lists and led to his second appearance on David Letterman as well as stage sharing with pals Bruce Springsteen, Levon Helm and many more. The experience fueled a creative revitalization for Jeffreys, whose ebullient, late-stage creative energy colors every note of his next release, Truth Serum (2013).
Starting out in Greenwich Village clubs in the mid Sixties, Jeffreys first recorded in 1969. He continued honing his craft over a number of albums including the celebrated Ghost Writer (1977) and in 1980 the song “Matador” hit # 1 in numerous European countries and remains a radio staple there today. In 1981 he broke though to American audiences with Escape Artist and in 1992 released the searing Don’t Call Me Buckwheat, his reflections on being multi-racial in America.
Jeffreys has long held the respect of his peers and the breadth of contributors to his albums and performances reflect that respect, as well as an ahead of his time penchant for musical genre-bending: Dr. John, The E Street Band, John Cale, Michael Brecker, Larry Campbell, The Rumour, James Taylor, Phoebe Snow, David Sanborn, Sly & Robbie, Sonny Rollins, Linton Kwesi Johnson and Lou Reed among many more have recorded and performed with him. With a string of critically acclaimed records and radio hits including “Wild in the Streets” and his cover of the garage rock classic “96 Tears” it’s a testament to both the broad appeal and diversity of Jeffreys’ music that his songs have been covered by hardcore punk legends The Circle Jerks (whose version of “Wild in the Streets” is a skater anthem), psych-folkies Vetiver and jazz trumpeter Randy Brecker.
His songs have been featured in numerous TV shows and commercials and “Wild in the Streets” rocked the Baz Luhrmann-helmed Netflix original series “The Get Down” while “True To Me” lights up a scene in the pilot episode of HBO’s “The Deuce.” “Don’t Call Me Buckwheat” was just named one of the top ten protest songs of all time in The New York Times, and was the soundtrack to an episode of ESPN’s film “Basketball: A Love Story.”
A 2016 Long Island Hall of Fame inductee, a NY Blues Hall of Famer, featured in the Wim Wenders blues film “The Soul of a Man,” recipient of the prestigious Schallplattenkritik Prize in Germany and the Tenco and Premio Prizes in Italy, performing at world-class festivals such as Byron Bay Blues, Montreux Jazz, Ottawa Folk, Calgary Folk and Fuji Rock, and at venues from Alaska to Japan, almost fifty years into his storied career Garland Jeffreys has no intention of slowing down.
What people are saying about Garland’s legendary high-octane performances:
- Delivered a lean, mean showcase set with the grace and class that one has come to expect from him— SXSW, Austin Chronicle
- His live performances and his joy for life are undiminished. He will still jump from the stage and strut through the audience. When one story ends there’s always another about to begin…— No Depression
- Deserves the status of American legend— The Guardian
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