Garland Jeffreys: The King of In Between (and I)

11/16/2011 12:32 pm ET | Updated Jan 16, 2012
  • Caroline Vella blogger and creator of and

I first heard the Garland Jeffreys' tune "Roller Coaster Town" on my local radio station WFUV and I was instantly taken. It led me to dig deeper into his new album The King of In Between and I found it was just as good a ride from beginning to end. It took me a moment to connect the dots back to his earlier work when it occurred to me that he's the Garland Jeffreys of my youth. OK, so it's been 13 years since his last record, but how could I have lost track of him? After all, he's the Garland Jeffreys that gave us the spirited "Wild in the Streets." Maybe I'm biased because he's singing about the tense and gritty New York City 70's I came of age in, but I believe it ranks high on the list of all time great songs and ironically, still strikes a chord today.

I recently had the pleasure of interviewing Garland for a podcast and he couldn't have been a more generous and affable character. He's every bit the real deal as you will hear in his voice...he thinks nothing of belting out a few bars on a moment's notice. He's a great storyteller and we could have easily hung out and talked all day. He told us about his Brooklyn roots, his 1970's heyday and his 50 year friendship with Lou Reed, all of which make an appearance on his new record. It plays like a track by track snapshot of each phase of his life from the beloved "Coney Island Winter" to the still going strong "I'm Alive" and this just may be his best work.

Though The King of In Between reflects his feelings of slipping through the cracks of races and genres, it seems after meeting him, maybe there's a generational thing going on as well. Yes, he's 68 and he's got the chops and wisdom of someone who has seen and heard plenty, it doesn't quite fit with the youthful spirit and kid in the candy store attitude that he wears so well. Listen as Garland Jeffreys shares his story in this original podcast: