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. His new and highly acclaimed The King Of In Between is the distillation of a long career dedicated to addressing socially conscious themes across a broad range of musical styles.
“‘Coney Island Winter’ was inspired by a day when I went back to my old neighborhood on a cold day and saw an older woman living on the street, out on the margins, completely alone. I participated in Occupy This Album because it will be a testament to a movement that comes from that same spirit – an outrage that in a land of plenty, there are so many with nothing.”
“OWS continues to spread and advance into new frontiers. I think it’s great – for too long, Americans have been complacent, unlike their European brothers and sisters who seem to take to the streets with a more readily kindled sense of outrage over inequities. I hope it continues to grow in strength and influence and brings about real change.”
RAVES FOR “THE KING OF IN BETWEEN”
This record is as good a classic roots rock record as you’re going to hear from anybody this year.
Ann Powers, NPR “All Songs Considered,” The Year’s Best Music
It’s quite possible that this commendable set could garner Jeffreys his first Grammy – or at the very least his first nomination. Whatever the case, it’s apparent that the venerable Jeffreys is quite comfortable sitting atop his throne of between.
Like Bob Dylan and Johnny Cash, Garland Jeffreys has created a late-career masterpiece.
Jon Bream, Minneapolis Star-Tribune
Jeffreys’ cool, conversational delivery sounds more spry and hip than ever on “King.”
Jim Farber, NY Daily News
The material is as uncannily fresh and forceful as the songs on his début record, from 1973.
The New Yorker
Like Dylan and Johnny Cash, Garland Jeffreys has created a late-career masterpiece.
Jon Bream, Minneapolis Star Tribune
He beats the odds by surpassing 1973’s Garland Jeffreys, 1977’s Ghost Writer, and all their lesser successors.
Robert Christgau, MSN Music
If you aren’t familiar with his music, well, the best compliment I can pay Jeffreys is to say that his newest album is as good an introduction to his excellence as the superb album that put him on the map, 1977’s “Ghost Writer.” There are quite a few mentions of mortality scattered throughout his new collection. In one song, Jeffreys says he doesn’t want to die onstage with a microphone in his hand, but he makes it sound as though it might be a beautiful way to go. In every respect, he’s not just artfully ambivalent; he’s the king of in-between.
Ken Tucker, NPR “Fresh Air”
If there’s a better record this year, I haven’t heard it. Garland Jeffreys is an old-school rocker with a timeless mind. His new album is an urban poet’s masterpiece.
The collection is one of the more powerful albums I’ve ever heard from an artist this late in his career.
Dave DiMartino, Yahoo Music
Even as the rides shut down, this New York rocker, returning from too long in exile, makes Coney’s magic live.
Brian Mansfield, USA Today
Jeffreys effortlessly blows through his style catalog and shows that he’s lost none of the power or the social consciousness that made him the critic’s darling in the ’70s and beyond. It’s rare enough for an artist to conjure up an album with the kind of power and personality to be considered a career-defining work, but Jeffreys has done just that with The King of In Between, an astonishing 40 years after he made his equally strong debut.
Brian Baker, Cincinnati City Beat
This is easily one of the five best, most moving, textured, and deep albums of guitar band rock I have heard in this century.
Danny Duncan Collum, U.S. Catholic
Jeffreys proves that he remains a singer-songwriter of extraordinary soul and grace with King of In Between, a powerful song cycle artfully co-produced by Larry Campbell that finds Jeffreys sizing up the modern skyline on standout tracks like “Coney Island Winter,” “I’m Alive” and “The Contortionist,” which features some backing vocals by another enduring New York man, Lou Reed. Whether you know it or not, Garland Jeffreys is musical royalty, so all hail The King of In Between.
David Wild, Huffington Post
Jeffreys cut his teeth in New York City, and has been perfecting a vibrant blend of R&B, reggae, rock, blues and soul for some 40 years. His latest album, “The King Of In-Between,” has received glowing notices, which is not surprising – throughout the collection, Jeffreys comes across with the force and passion of a man half his age.
No senior musician has demonstrated the urgency of 2011 with as much youthful fierceness as 68-year-old Garland Jeffreys on “The King of In Between.’’
Frankin Soults, Boston Globe
BEST OF LISTS 2011 (partial list)
Cincinnatti City Beat
Sarasota Herald Tribune