G. Love & Special Sauce are on the road because “that’s what we do,” according to group leader
Garrett “G. Love” Dutton III.
But the Philadelphia quartet is also in the midst of making some new music and, if all goes according to plan, will release its ninth album, the follow-up to 2006’s “Lemonade,” in early July — with a working title of “Down ’n’ Dirty,” though Dutton says that may be changed.
“It’s definitely a band record this time around, no special guests as opposed to last time,” Dutton, 35, says, noting “Lemonade” collaborators such as Ben Harper, Marc Broussard and his friend and record company co-owner Jack Johnson.
The band has changed this time around, too. The album will mark the first with keyboardist Mark Boyce, formerly of the Goats, as a full-fledged member, which Dutton says has made an enormous impact on Special Sauce’s acoustic-guitar led beatnik blend of grooves and raps.
“He’s just, like a tremendous instrumentalist,” Dutton explains, “and he’s also a songwriter. He just adds a lot of musical melodies and hooks, where before there was guitar strumming and vocals. So it’s just another layer of music to what we’re doing these days.
“Having him in the band, that musicianship picks everybody up. I think there’s more guitar work and better solos on this record than I’ve had in a long time, because instead of having to play guitar to make the (music gel together, I can play when it’s appropriate now.”
Dutton says the group will play several of its new songs live, including the funky “Superhero Brother” (another candidate for the title), “Long Way Down,” “Wiggle Worm,” “City Livin’,” “Jenny,” “Peace, Love and Happiness” and “That’s Real.” Besides some interesting characters, Dutton says fans may also hear a more political tone to the fresh material.
“There’s definitely some more conscious lyrics on the record than the last two we’ve done, I think,” he says. “For one thing, the election’s coming up. And being in a war ... It’s a time when it’s important to be somewhat conscious. A lot of stuff that’s on people’s minds right now is on my mind, too, so it’s gonna come out in the songs.
“It feels like a party record, but the lyrical content is deeper. It’s ... I dunno, politically conscious party music.”
G. Love & Special Sauce headline 93.9 The River’s Winter Icebreaker Friday (Jan. 18) at the Royal Oak Music Theatre, 318 W. Fourth St. The Wood Brothers and Newton Faulkner are also on the bill. Doors open at 6 p.m. Tickets are $25. Call (248) 399-2980 or visit www.royaloakmusictheatre.com.
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