Garland Jeffreys

June 16
7 p.m.
Rock, Singer-Songwriter

Jeffreys came out of Brooklyn 73 years ago, multi-racial, multicultural, multi-talented — a distinctly New York-centric cat throughout his artistically acclaimed but episodically obscure career. He’s a masterful, poetic songwriter with a rock ’n’ roll heart and a soul that embraces blues, R&B, and reggae, and his tidal highlights include the searing 1973 social commentary “Wild in the Streets” and 1981’s Escape Artist, featuring members of the E Street Band and the Rumour. His new 14 Steps to Harlem is full of reminiscences: childhood survival in the scorching “Schoolyard Blues,” his hardworking parents in the title track, hanging with the Clash in “Reggae on Broadway,” and late pal Lou Reed in a riveting cover of the Velvets’ “Waiting for the Man.” Jeffreys addresses the nation’s racial divide on “Colored Boy Said,” with its now bittersweet refrain, “I got a president who looks like me.” There’s also a brilliant, poignant version of the Beatles’ “Help,” the line about being “younger than today” particularly apropos; a reminder how much we do appreciate Jeffreys “being ’round.”