Jack Johnson is the easy, breezy, heir apparent to the acoustic strumming of today’s folksy surf/beach music. In addition to being a singer/songwriter/musician, Johnson is also a film maker and former professional surfer.
Johnson splashed (notice the subtle water reference) on to the musical scene by way of surfing when he and G. Love became acquainted. G. Love recorded Johnson’s song “Rodeo Clowns” on his 1999 release Philadelphonic. Johnson sang and played on the track and it was the first single from the album. In 2000, he co-directed and composed the soundtrack for the surf film Thicker Than Water. The soundtrack, coincidentally, contains four of Johnson’s songs.
With the release of his 2001 debut album Brushfire Fairytales Johnson was able to get Sam Beam (Iron & Wine) and Ben Harper (with his beautiful lap guitar skills) to appear on the album. In 2002 Johnson starred in and directed the surf film The September Session. Johnson has two songs on the soundtrack, one of which is a cover of Jimmy Buffet’s “A Pirate Looks at 40”.
His sophomore release, On and On, continues the mellow vibe of his previous album and does not deviate much on his third album In Between Dreams. His third album brings Zach Gill (Animal Liberation Orchestra) in to the musical mix and is the beginning of a series of fruitful collaborations with the multi talented Mr. Gill.
Jack Johnson Discography:
- Brushfire Fairytales
- On And On
- In Between Dreams
- Sing-A-Longs and Lullabies for the Film Curious George
- Sleep Through the Static
- En Concert
The 2006 soundtrack Sing-A-Longs and Lullabies for the Film Curious George is a menagerie of musical talent that includes Ben Harper, G. Love, Matt Costa, and Zach Gill. Johnson riskily yet skillfully covers The White Stripes “We Are Going To Be Friends”. The soundtrack made #1 on the billboard chart and has sold over three million copies.
Top 5 Jack Johnson Songs:
- Breakdown (In Between Dreams)
- Gone (On And On)
- Cookie Jar (On And On)
- Upside Down (Sing-A-Longs and Lullabies for the Film Curious George)
- Flake (Brushfire Fairytales)
In 2008 Johnson released his fourth album Sleep Through the Static which has electric guitars and keyboards playing a more prominent musical role than on previous albums. Lyrically, Johnson seems more mature and at times, a bit dark. Not in a Nine Inch Nails kind of dark, mind you, but a slight departure from the relatively sunny nature of his previous efforts.
A world tour followed the release of Sleep Through the Static and from that tour, came the live album En Concert. This album captures various performances throughout the tour and has a duet with Eddie Vedder (Pearl Jam) and a performance with Ben Harper.
Johnson’s music is easy to digest and does not require a lot of attention. You can get lost in the vibe of each album or song. He has a capable voice, good musical sense and surrounds himself with great talent.
I’ve seen him several times in concert and his live shows are just as laid back as his albums. He is typically in bare feet or flip flops, jeans, and t shirt. His guitar slung over his shoulder while he strums. Jack tends to be a stationary performer and allows his music to fill the room instead of his personality or presence.
Check out Jack Johnson at www.jackjohnsonmusic.com
Great music awaits!