2:21pm

Tue December 20, 2011
World Cafe

Garland Jeffreys On World Cafe

The title of Garland Jeffreys' latest album is an apt description of his life's work overall: The King of in Between. A singer-songwriter whose blend of rock 'n' roll, reggae, blues and soul is as edgy as it is full of social commentary, Jeffreys knows what it means to be an outsider, as evidenced by his accessible yet unclassifiable music. With a discography stretching back to the '60s (when he met Lou Reed before The Velvet Underground and played at countless Manhattan nightclubs), Jeffreys has done it all. He's been called an urban poet, the sound of New York, a confessional singer-songwriter and an explorer of the links between rock, race and rebellion. His Atlantic Records version of "Wild in the Streets" has become something of an anthem for skaters, and has been featured in Martin Scorsese's documentary on blues music.

The King of in Between comes after a 15-year hiatus from the music business, during which Jeffreys focused on raising his children. Now that his daughter Savannah is 15 and gaining fans herself, Jeffreys is also back on the scene. The King of in Between was co-produced by Larry Campbell (Grammy-winning producer with Levon Helm) and mixed by legendary Roy Cicala (John Lennon, Bruce Springsteen). It features Lou Reed, Duncan Sheik, Duke Levine and, of course Savannah Jeffreys. It's rootsy, something of a return to Jeffrey's early days, and its focus is greatly on New York — the incredible mix of people and ideas, embodied in music. Melancholy and joyful, acoustic and electric, full of both bluesy rock and R&B, Jeffreys' latest is truly king of in between.

Here, Jeffreys plays live and talks about his writing process and the inspiration for his music.

Copyright 2011 National Public Radio. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

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