Genres:Folk, Country - Contemporary/Pop, Country - Alternative, Production - Pop, Pop Rock, Alternative Pop, Pop - Adult Contemporary, Production - Rock, Production - Pop, Production - Rock, Rock - Pop Rock, Rock - Alternative Pop
It was said by one of my more eloquent fans that my music “combines the gritty Americana of Tom Petty, the harmonic savvy of Elvis Costello, and the undiluted melodicism of Paul Westerberg.” I’ll take that.
I’m Jeff Litman—a singer/songwriter/multi-instrumentalist in New York City.. My second album, Outside, was released on February 7th, 2012.
Outside is about my search for a place in the world—professionally, romantically, artistically. Where my first record, Postscript, is mired in the grief of a recently ended relationship, Outside is set in its slightly jaded, somewhat wiser, but still uncertain aftermath; it grapples with the question of what happens next and takes on the struggles that accompany life as an independent artist. It was recorded throughout 2011 in Minneapolis and New York. I co-produced the album with my old friend, Andy Thompson (who has worked with Dan Wilson, Andy Sturmer, Jeremy Messersmith). I also had the pleasure of recording with two early heroes of mine: drummer Michael Bland (Prince, Paul Westerberg, Soul Asylum) and Roger Joseph Manning, Jr. (Jellyfish, Beck, Air), who sings and plays keyboards on the title track. The record is filled out with the performances of a bunch of talented NYC-based artists and friends including Bryan Dunn, Maddy Wyatt, Shanna Zell, and Emily Zuzik.
I was born in Minneapolis at the tail end of the ‘70s, playing piano by age six and guitar by the time I was ten. Listening to grunge and metal throughout the ‘90s, I eventually became hooked on the melody-driven classic rock of The Beatles and The Beach Boys; the contemporary power-pop of artists like Jellyfish and Jon Brion; the grittier melodic rock of Minneapolis bands like The Replacements, Soul Asylum, and The Jayhawks; and of course, the uncategorizable, Prince. I also got into jazz, which led me to earn a jazz studies degree from Indiana University in 2002. After college, a developing love of classical music led me to New York, where I enrolled at the Manhattan School of Music, earning a master’s degree in classical guitar in 2006.
Toward the end of grad school, the wheels came off of my personal life when a relationship came to an abrupt end. Avoiding major life decisions, I escaped into academia, enrolling in a doctoral program in classical guitar at the City University of New York. As I emerged from the fog of heartbreak, however, I wanted to express my thoughts and feelings about the break-up in the language that felt most natural for me—melodic pop and rock music. This fueled my decision to quit school and get back to the basics of songwriting and playing rock ‘n’ roll. The result of that soul-searching is my first record, Postscript. Since its release in 2009, I’ve continued to write. I’ve also performed my own music,and absorbed the music of my peers at NYC venues such as Rockwood Music Hall, The Living Room, and Arlene’s Grocery—all of which influenced the sound and feel of the songs on Outside.
I’m really proud of this new record. The songwriting, performances, and production are by far my best, and I’m humbled and grateful that you’ve taken the time to check it out.
Outside is available in physical or digital form at iTunes, Amazon, and directly from jefflitmanmusic.com.