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G. Love & Special Sauce | The Juice

The Philly cheese-shtik bluesman uncorks his umpteenth musical mood enhancer.


“I’ve been in the game a long time, but I’ve always considered myself a student,” says G. Love. “Finishing this album with Keb’ Mo’ felt like graduation.” Recorded in Nashville with a slew of special guests including Robert Randolph, Marcus King, and Roosevelt Collier, The Juice is indeed diploma-worthy. Co-produced and co-written with Grammy-winning icon Keb’ Mo’, it’s an electrifying collection, one that tips its cap to more than a century of blues greats even as it offers its own distinctly modern pop spin on the genre, mixing programmed beats and hip-hop grooves with blistering guitar and sacred steel … Easy as it is to succumb to cynicism these days, the songs on The Juice refuse, insisting instead on hope and determination in the face of doubt and despair.”


You ever wish you could just turn off your brain? I sure do. Not all of it, mind you. I’m not eager to become a drooling imbecile, a masturbating monkey or a conservative voter. But every now and then, I’d sure like to be able to dim the lights on whatever chunk of my headspace it is that makes me overthink every decision in the world, overworry every issue and problem that comes along, and overcompensate for every perceived fault and failing in my words, actions and thoughts (including the very overthinking that got me there in the first place). I know it’s possible; I see people doing it all the dame time. I’m sure you see them too. They’re the ones who appear genuinely happy no matter what brand of horror is going down in the world. Their personal existence is not a continual and eternal struggle against the darkness. They know how to have fun. They joke and laugh and kibbitz. They have real friends and welcome the company of others. They willingly, even happily go to parties and enjoy themselves. And at those parties, they spin albums like The Juice, the umpteenth musical mood enhancer from tellingly pseudonymed Philly cheese-shtik bluesman Garrett (G. Love) Dutton. They kick up their heels to his upbeat, groovy and personable numbers about shaking your hair, going crazy, drinkin’ wine and celebrating life. They don’t waste time trying to decide whether he’s paying sincere homage to a slew of blues, pop and rock classics here or borrowing from them just a little too freely. They don’t fret about whether his positivity and playfulness are too hokey to enjoy unironically (or even believe). They don’t debate whether properly and respectfully showcase the talents of guests like Keb’ Mo’, Marcus King and Robert Randolph. No, they’re just happy. So when Dutton tells them to “Keep on smiling, baby,” they do. And probably would be anyways. Must be nice.