Friday, Oct. 13, 2006
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."
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.