Interview: G. Love at The House of Blues
The Evolution of G. Love: Justin Marini sits down with Garrett Dutton, better known as the venerable G. Love prior to his 4/8 performance at the House of Blues in downtown San Diego.
By: Justin Marini
When an artist creates an album that is a “departure” from their regular style, it is often a cause for concern for many fans. In the case of G. Love’s 11th record, “Fixin’ to Die,” I would encourage fans to dismiss that notion, and open their ears to what is sure to be one of the most dynamic and fresh sounds of 2011.
I was fortunate enough to sit down with Garret Dutton—aka G. Love—before seeing his April 8th show at the House of Blues. While hints of hip hop are sparsely tossed into the album, it is clear to see that G. Love’s main inspirations on “Fixin’ to Die” come from the realm of blues, to the likes of Muddy Waters, John Hammond Jr., and Mississippi John Hurt.
“I want to return to my roots,” noted G. Love, who added that this was an album he has wanted to make for a very long time. With the help of his producers—the Avett Brothers–G’s dream became a reality. The “…old-fashioned work ethic…” of the Avett Brothers combined with G. Love’s strong talent and passion for blues makes “Fixin’ to Die” an album that stands out among a generation of increasingly dispassionate musicians.
Although “Fixin’ to Die” is a departure from the classic G. Love sound found on albums such as “Lemonade” or “Philadelphonic,” this is in no way a dismissal of the vintage G. Love sound fans have come to adore. “I want to challenge the audience with my shows,” noted G. Love, who continued by saying that the shows on this tour will be full circle, beginning with new music, integrating the old classics in the middle, and finishing strong with more of his new music.
G. Love’s show at the House of Blues did just that, beginning with blues jams that left most of the audience jaws on the floor. If that was not enough, as the San Diego local outfit Slightly Stoopid replaced the band Special Sauce on stage and joined G. Love for the middle of his set, the crowd went wild, enjoying classics including Slightly Stoopid’s “Mellow Mood” (with an awesome blues harmonica tossed into the mix). As the show concluded with several strong blues numbers, you could see the trance-like effect G. Love had instilled on the crowd at the House of Blues that night.
Leaving the show, it was a relief to discover that G. Love’s gravitation towards blues is not a rejection of his old hip-hop influenced sound. Instead, “Fixin’ to Die” showcases his evolution into a more versatile musician. When asked about the future of G. Love, he noted, “I want to stay in this direction.” In an effort to delve even deeper into his blues roots, G. Love noted that he yearns to create his own original blues sound based on the Mississippi Delta Blues in the future. All in all, G. Love’s commitment to original, passionate music paves a promising path for the future of blues, and music in general.