G. Love returns for Belly Up gig, snowboarding | AspenTimes.com

G. Love returns for Belly Up gig, snowboarding

G. Love and Special Sauce, led by singer-guitarist G. Love, performs tonight and Saturday at the Belly Up. Both shows are sold out. (Aspen Times file)

“I always like to play New Year’s Eve and I couldn’t think of a better place than in Aspen with all you great people,” said G. Love, born Garrett Dutton, by phone from Philly where he is spending the holidays. In the background were glasses and dishes clinking around.”We’re really looking forward to this being a classic New Year’s Eve,” he said. “Taking in 2006, with everyone looking fine in their party gear, it’s gonna be a ball.”G. Love and Special Sauce (which includes Jimmy “Jazz” Prescott on acoustic bass and Jeffrey “Houseman” Clemens on drums) perform at the Belly Up tonight and Saturday.”I’m staying for an extra day or so,” said G. Love. “I hope to get out on the mountain at least one day. New Year’s Day I’m reserving for a little hair of the dog and recuperation. The second is the day I’m shooting for.”

G. Love said he gets to snowboard whenever he plays a show in the mountains. “I just kinda kick back and do my thing,” he said. “It’s one of my hobbies, not one of my pursuits, I can’t break my arm when I have a gig the next day.”G. Love and Special Sauce first played together in 1992. At the time, Jimmy Jazz and Houseman were playing together at a weekly jazz jam. They met G. Love and played their first gig that same weekend. In 1994, the three of them released a self-titled album with what are now classics like “Baby’s Got Sauce” and “Cold Beverage.” The album went gold and sparked heavy touring the following year. A decade later they released their latest album, “The Hustle.” It was the third album released by Jack Johnson’s label, Brushfire. “Right now we’re finishing up a record,” said G. Love, talking about what they’ve put together so far. “It has a lot of cool special guests: Ben Harper, Jack Johnson, Los Lobos, Steve the organ player from Particle, a lot of really cool people, a lot of people have swung by and contributed musically and vocally.”He’s expecting the new album to come out next spring or summer. “My drummer was the catalyst to get the ball rolling,” said G. Love. “He invited Ben to do a collaboration. That started the ball rolling and we were in Philly doing a record, everyone comes through here to play. Once it started happening, well, you realize how many friends you have that are great musicians.”

Something in the background crashed and he paused for a moment, then continued on, “Once it starts becoming a thing everybody else says, ‘I wanna do one, too.’ The newest one we’re trying to do is a track with Blackalicious. It’s a real nice crew from the genre of music that we see as our family vibe, Jack and Ben, and we’ve reached out to some of our hip-hop friends.”He says that songs just come to him when he’s playing the guitar, having fun with it, enjoying himself. “I find that the best songs come when you don’t think about them,” he said. “Some of the coolest tunes have come out when I’m waiting for the car to get fixed or I come up with the words for them just walking down the street. Those are the ones that are simple, they happen easy. With music, you say you’re going to play your guitar, that means your going to have fun, right, so when you’re playing or not working or writing or practicing, if you’re playing, then you come up with your most happening stuff.”The shows at the Belly Up will include new songs off the new album, as well as from the albums they have released during the last decade. These days G. Love seems to be a bigger star than ever and gained more national recognition with a Coke commercial released this year. “It’s definitely a piece of American pop culture,” he said. “It’s an honor, regardless of politics and how you feel about corporations, it’s a very American thing. And the whole message, I like to teach the world to sing, is a pretty positive message. I was happy with the music. It came through really nicely in an understated way that was really hip.”

He said that up until then some of his parents friends hadn’t even really realized he had a job, but when they saw him on the commercial they were impressed. He laughed about it and said that he experiences a different sense of recognition from it. He had to get back to Christmas plans and the noise in the background assured he wasn’t lying, but he wanted to make sure we know he’s happy to be coming out. “We’ll have a couple cool shows out there,” he said. “It feels really good as a musician, when you’re coming, and you know people are psyched to come out to the show to spend an evening of music with you.”Joel Stonington’s e-mail address is jstonington@aspentimes.com

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