If you don't know much about Garland Jeffreys here is a little history lesson. Jeffreys started playing music in the mid 60's and released his self-titled album in 1973. "Wild in the Streets" which was his single, became an unofficial anthem for the skate community and has been covered by countless punk bands including The Circle Jerks. As the years progressed he has become well known in the music community and has played on Letterman, has had his music used in popular video games, has joined Bruce Springsteen for live performances and much, much more. He hasn't slowed down over the years and just released a new album.
Garland Jeffreys is bringing the straight truth on his latest album, Truth Serum. The music that Jeffreys passionately brings his audience is pure Americana soul with some southern twang in it. Yet Jeffreys aims to surprise, as there are several other musical influences present in his songs. One of the amazing things about Jeffreys is that he is 70 years old and still recording music.
The first track on the album, which shares the title of the album, really lays down the “truth” about what this “truth serum” truly is. It reveals itself as that fiery liquid that people gather to gulp — that social lubricant that takes the edge off. “Truth serum, get it down so fast, and that’s all she wrote,” the lyrics of the song playfully and metaphorically harp about the ugly truth of alcohol; how it will leave you out on the corner, and also induce truth telling. The song is full of classical southern tones of harmonicas, classic electric guitar, and some really funky effects which make you just tap your feet to this slowed down yet upbeat track.
The next track is titled “Any Rain,” a bit of a somber song yet has a catchy vibe to it. “Anything to ease the pain… ease my sanity;” again this may be another allusion to taking alcohol to “ease the pain.” A track with a more upbeat tone is “Dragons to Slay.” This song has a bit of an island feel to it, yet maintains being bluesy, it really is a great track. “Dragons to slay, each and every day,” the song is accented by Jamaican-like horns and drums, Jeffreys even goes on to speak a little “rasta” towards the end of the song.
Many of the songs are anchored under the basis of alcohol and the effect if may have on the passages of life, whether they be positive or negative. The title of the album is a metaphor on this theme in itself. The entire album is highlighted by beautiful and telling poetic lyrics, they draw compelling metaphors that have depth yet are simple, light, and airy. The album remains true to the genre of music that is bluesy country Americana rock, yet has several surprises in store for listeners. A listener can tell this artist has been making music for a long period of time, this comes across when listening to the songs that make up Truth Serum.
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