Next time you find yourself in downtown Evanston on a Friday around lunchtime, make a point to stop by Potbelly's at 630 Davis Street. Jeff Libman's likely to be playing acoustic guitar and singing songs to coax you into your weekend. Jeff's an Evanstonian you really ought to know.
Taken right from his website, www.JeffLibman.com:
Jeff began playing guitar at the age of seven in a house full of piano players. He recorded his first song, Burt Bacharach's, The Look of Love, a year later. Outside of his role as Huck Finn in Tom Sawyer, his 5th grade play, there were only limited stints of singing and guitar playing for many years. "I was busy doing other things," he said. And he was.
After college, Jeff lived in New York City, where he worked producing documentary films for public television. In need of a change, he spent one year living, working and traveling through Asia, where he wrote his first song. Returning to Chicago, however, "other things" pulled him away from music again. He coordinated the resettlement of Tibetan refugees in Chicago and began teaching English as a Second Language at the City Colleges of Chicago.
When the time was right, his music flourished. He performed regularly with Deb Lader of the well-known Chicago band, The Sons of the Never Wrong, before playing guitar for Alice Peacock. Then it was time for his own music to come center stage. Writing more than 30 songs in the last few years, he has captured audiences with his unique brand of new folk and soul. Always putting on an entertaining and engaging show - which includes the percussive talents of his audience - Jeff weaves his lyrics through astute insights of the human condition: from politics to love, mystery to hope, children's songs to ballads, and driving pop hooks to poignant stories, while his melodies, rhythms and voice keep audiences entranced.
Jeff's music has been compared to everyone from David Wilcox, John Gorka and Shawn Colvin to James Taylor and Loggins and Messina.
If you get home, wishing you could hear his songs again, order his CD December Wave on his website at www.JeffLibman.com.
If you see Jeff Around Town, make sure to say hello. He's the kind of guy who'll ask you about yourself, remember what you told him, wish you the best and truly mean it.
He's an Evanstonian you ought to know.