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G. Love & Special Sauce

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G. Love & Special Sauce Dates

G. Love & Special Sauce Biography

G. Love & Special Sauce - Love Saves The Day
“When you get the spark, you got to ride that energy,” says G. Love, and that spark
certainly ignites on his 10th studio full-length Love Saves The Day. He calls the new
release “the fullest realization of the hip-hop blues” that he first pioneered with Special
Sauce in the early ‘90s. The album, due out October 30 on Brushfire Records, not only
features G. Love’s long-term Special Sauce rhythm section – upright bassist James “Jimi
Jazz” Prescott, and drummer Jeffrey “The Houseman” Clemens – but also prominent
guest performers including Los Lobos guitarist David Hidalgo, Lucinda Williams,
Citizen Cope, Ozomatli, DJ Logic, Money Mark, Zach Gill and Adam Topol.
To create their down and dirty “trashcan blues” sound, G. Love and Special Sauce
returned to Brushfire Records’ Solar Powered Plastic Plant in Los Angeles. The band was
excited to reteam with Sugar engineer and producer Robert Carranza (Jack Johnson,
Beastie Boys, Mars Volta). They recorded live with few edits to capture the immediacy
of the music: G. Love making his guitar snarl and his harmonica moan, bassist Prescott
bringing nimble funk to the bottom end and Clemens’ drum work crackling with power.
“The music,” G. Love enthuses, “jumped off the tape.”
The new album completes the trilogy for G. Love that started with 2011’s Fixin To Die.
That disc stripped his music down to its roots and saw him record with The Avett
Brothers, while Sugar, in G. Love’s words, “reconnected the blues with the electric side”
and reunited the original trio to create the band’s signature style of blending John Lee
Hooker blues with “Golden Era” hip-hop beats. On Love Saves The Day the group dives
even deeper, making the grooves heavier, the music rawer and the performances more
G. Love also feels Love Saves The Day is his most rock ‘n’ roll record yet. Just listen to
the title track that opens the album and you’ll hear why. This blast of furious blues,
powered by David Hidalgo’s wicked guitar work, stands toe-to-toe with the classic work
of Cream and the other blues-inspired bands of the ‘60s and early ‘70s. Hidalgo, a
returnee from the Sugar sessions, plays on two other songs, “Dis Song” and “That Girl.”
Besides being the first tracks recorded, G. Love sees these three tunes as forming the core
of the album. They also lead off the release and set the record’s rugged, raucous tone.
This wonderfully unruly spirit flows through the revved-up rendition of the old Leadbelly
tune “New York City,” where G. Love does a delightfully ragged duet with celebrated
singer-songwriter Lucinda Williams. On the mesmerizing “Muse,” which arose from an
all-night writing session he had with his old pal Citizen Cope, G. Love’s sinewy slide
guitar drives the tune’s southern rock/hip-hop hybrid groove. “Baby Why You Do Me
Like That” kicks off with scratching from another old friend, D.J. Logic, and features the
album’s heaviest hip-hop beats. Adding to the groove on “Muse” and “Baby…” is the
energetic horn work supplied by L.A. band Ozomatli; however, their contributions really
shine on “Let’s Have A Good Time,” a super funky jam that could have easily been a lost
James Brown gem.

Although “Let’s Have A Good Time,” along with the catchy, power-of-love ode “Peanut
Butter Lips,” rank as the lighter tunes on the album, the overall lyrical mood, as G. Love
easily admits, tends to favor the darker side. Even the seemingly optimistic title track
turns heavy towards the end. Standout cut “Back To Boston,” which examines a troubled
relationship, was written on a drive from New York City to Boston. Longtime fans will
recognize the tune from the acoustic EP Bloodshot & Blue, but G. Love wanted to give it
the full-band treatment, with the new version showcasing frequent collaborator Mark
Boyce’s jazzy organ work. The rough-hewn performances on tracks like “That Girl,”
“Pick Up The Phone” and “R U Kidding Me…!” further reflect the lyrics’ raw emotions,
with the sharp-tongued “Dis Song” representing the peak of, as G. Love calls it, “pissedoff-
Whether angrily railing about a girl with a “shotgun tongue” in “Dis Song,” joyfully
leading a party celebration in “Let’s Have A Good Time,” or solemnly addressing love
woes on the solo acoustic tune “Lil’ Run Around,” G. Love’s vocals vividly express his
torn-from-the-heart emotions. He has been putting more emphasis on his singing in the
past few years, and feels his vocals on the new album are his strongest ever. G. Love
admits that singing with Citizen Cope and Lucinda Williams on this album, and the great
session singer Merry Clayton on Sugar, made him raise his game.
He certainly has come a long way in the 20 years since drummer Clemens discovered
him performing in a Boston pub. The two started playing together and, after Clemens
brought in upright bassist Prescott, G. Love & Special Sauce was born. Their self-titled
debut, featuring the hit “Cold Beverage,” wound up going gold. The band became known
for their live shows and performed around the world. G. Love has played with and
without Special Sauce over the years, but now the trio is back together and it feels right.
G. Love believes the current manifestation of the band is stronger than ever and is riding
a creative high, adding “and we didn’t want to kill each other.”
Love Saves The Day marks G. Love’s sixth with Brushfire Records and he’s thrilled with
their relationship. He lauds label chief Emmett Malloy as someone driven by creativity
first and whose aesthetic tastes he trusts. G. Love views today’s music world as the Wild
West, with “all the lines washed away;” however, his genre-blurring music now is more
relevant than when he started. “It’s a good time to be doing what we are doing,” he
asserts, noting Gary Clark Jr., Jack White, Robert Randolph and Galactic as some fellow
keepers of the blues flame who “maintain the roots but push music forward.”
G. Love proudly describes himself as a road dog who “will be touring until I fall off the
earth” and plans to keep on pushing with Special Sauce from stage to stage. Whether
Love Saves The Day makes one dollar or a million isn’t a big concern to him. It stands as
a huge success because he made the gritty, honest album that he intended by “keeping it
raw, keeping it immediate, keeping it real.” It’s an approach that he has honed over the
years: “be original and be true to what you do.”

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