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Jack Johnson For Now

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Jack Johnson is a great lyricist and a natural acoustic guitarist.  There is no unplugging necessary; his medium is the acoustic guitar...mostly.  He has only been around since 2001’s Brushfire Fairytales, so this rookie is relegated to the Newer Bands That Don’t Sound Bad section.  That’s a shame. Johnson has had ten albums in those years—three live, one soundtrack, and six studio albums. And his work seems to be—despite his success—underestimated.

Hardly any listener would ever question Johnson’s voice—and anyone who listens to his lyrics will recognize something special here.  So what could possibly be underestimated? It’s guitar, real acoustic guitar.  This isn’t Dylan in the pre-electric days with that old folk sound; this is contemporary, honestly produced guitar, a brave undertaking in the age of hyper production and sampling. Jack Johnson could come out onto a stage at a little community hall in backwater anywhere and perform any album he has ever released—to the delight of the audience—by himself with his Cole Clark acoustic.

From Here

His latest work is From Here to Now to You, released in September 2013, and it’s a pretty good representation of what Johnson is capable of.  This is not his best album, but it is a very good, contemporary introduction to Johnson.  “Washing Dishes” is one of those typical Johnson songs that can easily be underestimated.  You have to listen to it to get it.

“Shot Reverse Shot” has that acoustic sound and voice that reveals Johnson for what he is.  This isn’t folk and it certainly isn’t produced pop. You hear Johnson playing guitar and singing.  Check out “Ones and Zeros,” “Never Fade,” and “Don’t Believe a Thing I Say”—to name a few. It’s real when you can hear the finger ridges shift on the strings.





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