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Garland Jeffreys stays in tune with NYC on his latest, 14 Steps to Harlem

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Singer-songwriter Garland Jeffreys has had a bit of a resurgence over the past four years after subtly refining the style he originally crafted on his seminal 1973 self-titled solo debut and 1977’s Ghost Writer. A native New Yorker, Jeffreys was close friends with Lou Reed, and their music shares definite similarities—in particular, the constant NYC references, the lyrics reflecting social conflict, and the easy protopunk designation. (Jeffreys’s song “Wild in the Streets” went on to become a skate-punk anthem for the Circle Jerks.) Though his sound has essentially remained unchanged over the decades, he’s more recently been promoted as a sort of roots-music artist, and it’s true that elements of blues and alt-country have infiltrated his records over the past few years. His latest release is entitled 14 Steps to Harlem, and on the title track he continues to reflect on his bottomless NYC experience through the lens of his childhood and his relationship with his parents. Jeffreys has been known to disappear from the public eye before a record release—it’s good to have him back in action and spreading the word.   v

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