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Garland Jeffreys

The King of In Between (Luna Park)

Reviewed by Jim Caligiuri, Fri., March 16, 2012

SXSW 2012 Records

Garland Jeffreys

The King of In Between (Luna Park)

"I'm Alive," Garland Jeffreys repeats endlessly on the second track of The King of In Between, his first album in 13 years – perhaps for those that need reminding. A native son of New York City, Jeffreys has been making music since the late Sixties. A stint with major labels in the late Seventies and early Eighties earned the singer-songwriter a cult following, a slew of radio play, and comparisons to rock poets such as Lou Reed and Elvis Costello. Since he's been releasing discs so intermittently, whatever fan base he once had will probably be surprised to find out he's still making vital new music. The King of In Between is a perfect description for what Jeffreys does: a bit of blues ("'Til John Lee Hooker Calls Me") mixed with healthy shots of reggae and ska ("Streetwise," "Roller Coaster Town") and defiant rockers ("Coney Island Winter"). Reed even puts in an appearance to add ironic do-do-do's on a sideways loping "The Contortionist." Jeffreys sings about life, aging, and death in an unflinching manner, subject matter that some might find dispiriting, but his genius has always been his ability to make a listen that's never really heavy and leans toward positively gleeful. (Thu., 8pm, St. David's Bethell Hall; 10pm, Palm Door)

***.5

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