G. Love headed in the right direction

Christine Beaderstadt

G. Love hasn’t always performed for crowds of over 5,000 people. In fact, he started playing his guitar and rapping on the streets of Philly in the early 1990s, earning his income from the tips he made, mostly in change, and sometimes as little as $10 a day.Although G. Love (a.k.a. Garrett Dutton) has been performing and writing songs for years, it is only recently that he has gotten a taste of the bigger, larger-than-life musical world.

His addition in the early 1990s of two bandmates, Jimi “Jazz” Prescott (acoustic bass) and Jeffrey Clemens “House Man” (drums), helped solidify G. Love’s unique sound. They released a self-titled album the same year and continued to tour up and down the east coast, eventually expanding to continental touring.

But combining additional musicians also brought musical problems. G. Love said, “I, myself and the band have a really kind of diverse group of influences, which I like to just call ‘good music.’ That includes. a lot of pop, a lot of reggae [and] that makes us who we are. But [there are] so many different styles going on that [our sound can be] less cohesive.”

Perhaps this is one reason why it has taken so long for G. Love to get off the ground; his musical style is too unique and unusual for radio play. A combination of rap, rock guitar, and acoustic bass, G. Love’s blending of the two musical worlds of hip-hop and rock and roll leaves the listener surprised, yet craving for more.

You can hear the mixed influence of the Beastie Boys and Bob Marley with a twist of blues, but there is something else. G. Love is bringing something new to the musical table, and it is more than just a combination of different sounds. Whatever that extra thing is, it has been working out for G. Love and Special Sauce.

The growth of their popularity is also reflected in G. Love’s personal and musical choices. He has consciously streamlined his vision for his musical career. He said, “[I] was a little spaced out for the latter part of the 1990s. I wasn’t hooked on drugs or anything like that; I just don’t think I made a lot of wise choices. I think the last seven years I’ve had my eyes on a more positive, bigger thing.”

G. Love has also focused on becoming a better musician. Although he isn’t formally trained, he has worked hard to create better melodies and rhythms. He is self-admittedly rhythmically challenged (which is hard to believe after listening to his records), but believes his success can influence other aspiring musicians.

He said, “The mission in my music is to just inspire people to play music or just love music. because I love music and I love to play music. And I’m not really naturally gifted so much. I have terrible natural rhythm. But I love to do this.”

In 2006, G. Love and Special Sauce released “Lemonade,” after a two-year recording hiatus. And in 2001, G. Love spontaneously jammed with Jack Johnson, which led to a record deal on Johnson’s company, Brushfire Records.

“My dream was really just to make one record. I did that and my dream now is to gain respect more from playing my guitar, like John Mayer.” And right now, G. Love is headed in exactly the right direction, with performances at Lollapalooza and an upcoming studio recording session. As G. Love eloquently phrased it, “This sh*t’s great.