When Jarvis Cocker hails someone as “the best lyricist working in the US today” you should really sit down and listen. Luckily for the folk of Medway the object of Cocker’s praise, Jeffrey Lewis, is making Gillingham the final stop of his UK tour. Accompanied by his band, The Junkyard, Lewis demolishes the cliché of the angst-ridden singer-songwriter and delivers midnight-tinged, wit-sharpened hymns to the human condition.
On his own, and with his band, Lewis has toured the world, playing with artists including Stephen Malkmus, The Fall, Devo, Devendra Banhart, The Cribs, Beth Orton…the list is packed with illustrious denizens of the off-beat musical underground. And when not making his six strings chime and chatter with everyday tales of the absurd, Lewis is a comic-book artist, having contributed to the New York Times and The Guardian, as well as releasing his own series, called Fuff.
Born in the Big Apple, Lewis made his name playing open mic nights in the city’s Sidewalk Bar with a host of artists that became associated with the antifolk movement. He certainly has stylistic similarities with that scene; off kilter singing, an acoustic backbone that can spark with the riot of punk and a wry, self-deprecating air. However, the magical simplicity and humorous insight of his songs strike such a chord that he sometimes feels like the only living boy in New York.
Since launching in September 2011, Tea Concerts has brought to Medway, Brighton and London some of the finest bands currently shaping the musical underground including: The Tigercats, The Bobby McGees, Darren Hayman and The Wave Pictures. Tea Concerts follows Jeffrey Lewis & The Junkyard with hip-hop legend Grandmaster Flash, at The Casino Ballrooms in Rochester, on 9 November.
To book tickets and to find out what’s coming up on the Tea Concerts calendar visit teaconcerts.co.uk, or phone 01634 545545.