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Friday, Oct. 13, 2006

LISTENING POST

LIVE

G. Love and Special Sauce


Comprising guitarist Garret Dutton (Mr. G. Love himself), upright bassist Jimmie Prescott (Jimi Jazz) and drummer Jeffrey Clemens (Houseman), Philadelphia's G. Love & Special Sauce first began turning heads with the release of their nearly gold-certified, 1994 self-titled debut. Incorporating a mish-mash of musical styles, including folk, blues, soul, funk and hip-hop, the act's chilled grooves struck a chord with surfers and college kids alike. One surfer in particular, Jack Johnson, caught their attention, and they invited the then-unknown guitarist (at least to nonsurfers) to appear on 1999's "Philadelphonic."

News photo
G. Love

Johnson, whose own musical career skyrocketed in the following years, returned the favor by signing G. Love & Special Sauce to his Brushfire Records imprint in 2004. Close friends by then, the two teamed up for a Japanese tour in May 2005. With this new alliance pushing the band even closer to the mainstream, they were tapped to help launch a new Coca-Cola and reworked Coke's classic 1970s jingle "I'd Like to Teach the World to Sing," which became a hit for The New Seekers.

Love and Co. are returning to Japan in support of their latest effort, "Lemonade," which boasts contributions from several like-minded musicians, including Johnson, Ben Harper, Blackalicious, and a couple of other surfers turned singer-songwriters, Tristan Prettyman and Donavon Frankenreiter. Their seventh recording, the album features more of the band's eclectic, self-termed "hip-hop blues," and has been garnering positive reviews.

G. Love & Special Sauce play Oct. 23 & 24, 7 p.m. at Shibuya AX, Tokyo, Oct. 26, 7 p.m. at Bottom Line, Nagoya, and Oct. 27, 7 p.m. at Big Cat, Osaka; 6,000 yen in advance.


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