Thursday, March 17, 2011
MUSIC REVIEW OF THE DAY: G. LOVE - FIXIN' TO DIE
No Special Sauce on this one. G. Love goes it alone, or rather goes it without his usual backing band, trading them for the hot hot sounds of the Avett Brothers. Scott and Seth are the producers, and much of their folkie-rootsy sound is picked up with the disc. That's nothing new for G., who has switched gears a number of times in his now quite-lengthy career, almost 20 years and 17 albums.
I've been quite disappointed with G. Love's past decade, and his genre-hopping. Originally he was one of the best white hip-hop artists, one of the first to show how there was an artistic future for the form, as opposed to the cartoonish Vanilla Ice, for instance. Plus, he was out there doing it for his home town on the landmark Philadelphonic album in 1999. But that's also when he met Jack Johnson, who was then unknown. When Johnson got famous, G. Love became part of his label and scene, and the music changed. Now G. Love albums were more jam-based, acoustic, all Jack Johnson-y. There's been some country there, blues, but it's been watered-down, and hardly original.
With the Avetts on board, G. Love is still dealing in other people's music. There are some old blues numbers, and this watered-down roots sound the Avett Brothers deal in. You get the feeling none of these guys grew up with any of these influences, but instead discovered them on-line, and do an approximation rather than connecting with the sound in their soul. Oddly, Love and the Avetts have little to add to the covers they've chosen. Paul Simon's 50 Ways To Leave Your Lover and The Velvet Underground's Pale Blue Eyes given very basic readings, almost as if the group has just discovered these songs, and thinks that most of us won't have heard them before, like we're 16 years old. Actually, that may be the main audience here.