Jeffrey Gaines brought a unique, original voice to the sea of singer/songwriters that emerged in the 1990s. Born and raised in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, Gaines studied drawing and painting as a child, but became interested in singing while in his teens, joining local cover bands and taking his cue from the recordings of musicians like John Lennon, David Bowie, Paul Weller, Ray Davies, and Elvis Costello. After high school, Gaines was offered the singer slot for a New York rock & roll band, but turned it down to move to Philadelphia, where he signed with Chrysalis Records in 1990. His self-titled 1992 debut, featuring the Band's Garth Hudson on saxophone, organ, and accordion, drew critical praise from far and wide, and put him on the musical map as an introspective folk-rock artist. The hookier, more rock-oriented Somewhat Slightly Dazed followed in 1994 and marked the end of Gaines' tenure with Chrysalis.
In 1998 Gaines returned with Galore, this time via the Rykodisc label. Always Be, released in 2001, contained a stripped-down cover of Peter Gabriel's 1986 hit "In Your Eyes," a longtime staple of Gaines' concerts and a song he'd become associated with by many fans. Later that same year he was invited by producer Nile Rodgers to sing on the album We Are Family, which benefited victims of the 9/11 attacks in New York. Still riding some of the success of the "In Your Eyes" single, Gaines paired up with producer Mitchell Froom to record 2003's Toward the Sun, his second release for Artemis Records. Throughout the next decade, he focused largely on touring both in the U.S. and Europe, releasing the acoustic Jeffrey Gaines Live in 2004 followed in 2012 by Live in Europe, which was captured during a tour supporting Joe Jackson. In 2018, 15 years after his last studio effort, Gaines returned with his sixth album, Alright. ~ Richard Skelly