It was beautiful in Cape Cod in late December when Garrett Dutton, akaG. Love, was picking up some sticks in the yard while we were chatting. He said it is quiet there this time of year on his dirt road. This is his first big move, not in an inner-city of Philadelphia or Boston. He has a big old yard; he goes fishing and surfing with the family. Later that day, he planned to get oysters out of the bay and make a bonfire. He just brought a new baby in the world. His heart is full, and his enthusiasm for each moment is contagious. This is Garrett’s off time.
G. Love is all about the balance, spreading the love, and encouraging change. “The new record has two major themes. One is about our family life. I just got married, and I’m in a really supportive relationship. We started a new family and my oldest son, he’s here, he’s graduated high school,” G. Love says. “So we’re just happy. I express that a lot in the record. Like, She’s the Rock, has that kind of sentiment. I’m not worthy.”
“Digging roots is trying to paint a picture of our family and our yard and kind of a day in the life down here and our friends,” says G. Love. “In this song, I’m pulling the weeds, you know, like getting rid of stuff in your life that is just taking up space and clogging positive growth. Getting rid of those old skeletons in your closet and those old shitty relationships and planting new seeds.”
“Shine on Moon (feat. Keb’ Mo’) and That Simple Thing is about these big old trees here, the Cedar trees, and two owls in them, that are like my wife and me, flying around here,” says G. Love.
Outside of the sweet family life and the compassion he has for the world, G. Love is very in tuned with the tugging battle some are facing. The second theme in The Juice is quite topical, dealing with issues many people in our country and in different cultures around the world are facing right now, “The raising of negative forces. The dark forces like racism, and nationalism, and antisemitism. This rolling back the clock to less progressive ideas and trying to take freedoms and rights away from people,” says G. Love.
Music is an outlet for G. Love. With all the goodness he has, he is also aware of things that are not fair. Love is using his new album, to voice some thoughts about our current state as a society. “And it’s in a time and age where we’re really trying to give everybody equal rights and avoid the chance in this world of trouble. There’s that notion, watching the news, so much bad news every day, and being filled with this anxiety and dredge. So I definitely have a couple of songs, like, Go Crazy (feat. Keb’ Mo’) and Shake Your Hair in the notion of all that stuff’s going on,” says Garrett. “It’s really messing my vibe up, and I need to kind of really let loose. It’s kind of an escapist thing, but it’s also like, man, this world is fucked up. Like it’s about to drive me crazy.”
Love’s title track, The Juice (feat. Marcus King), is the quintessential part of the entire album. This is the most critical part of the work G. Love and Special Sauce is doing right now. “That song is a protest song about where we’re at right now, about the Trump administration, and his Presidency and kind of how I feel it needs to go.” The Juice is a rallying cry, offering some support to activists, and a call to politicians for change. “Juice is supporting people trying to get [Trump] him out of there and encouraging more people to vote, encouraging people with progressive agendas and liberal values. You know. Giving them some energy.”
G Love’s interpretation that he resonates with recently is a conversation between Steve Bannon and Michael Moore at a meeting of the minds. Dutton says it was loosely, “You know, the difference between the right-wing and the left-wing, is that the right-wing people come to a fight with a knife and the left-wing people come to a fight with a pillow.” The whole taking a stance on sides for G. Love comes with media scrutiny or a polarization on his social networking pages, “People want to say unlike, or unfollow me or, I don’t like your music, now, I‘m not going to come to your shows, or you should stick to entertaining, you know, leave the politics out of music.”
But music, to G. Love, is about the voice. It is about the movement. The music is the vehicle for change. He believes he should take a stand and that music has always been driven by activism and vice versa. He wants his music to be about more than just ticket sales and dig into those topics that people, including himself, are really wrestling with and struggling to make sense of. When the world is chaotic and confusing, music can be the settlement the soul needs. The Juice is just about that. The raw issues of life, love, and how exactly we can come together around them to create support and just basically show up for one another in times of turmoil without giving into propaganda. G. Love says, “But it [losing fans, followers or ticket sales] makes me realize, this is what I am. It’s who I am. It’s who I’ve always been, and that’s what I‘m going to continue to do is speak my mind on, the things that matter to me.”
Music matters to Garrett, a lot. In the shifting, dynamic, yet fragile music industry, he took a stance in his own creative life by launching a new record label Philadelphonic. The Juice is his first self released album leaving behind the last 17-year relationship with Brushfire records. Garrett has a solid team of creatives publishing original content like the psychedelic-funky-feel-good-animations for The Juice release byAndres Solarand a stellar PR team to boot. This new chapter gives G. Love complete creative control of his artistic works, and he hopes to support more artists up and coming in the future.
“Walking around New York with my manager Jason Brown last week doing press, it’s something that we’ve done a lot together over the years on a record cycle. I said, man, this feels pretty good ’cause it was the first time after 20 years of doing this together that we’re working exactly for ourselves,” says G. Love. “Not taking away from any of the other people that have helped us a lot over the years. There is just something special to have your own Lemonade stand.”
G. Love believes in the work and the grind. His passion and grit took him this far. His advice to the young artist coming up first is a reference to Lady GaGa’s sentiment, he says, “One thing she says, it’s true for all of us who are out here doing this. It’s just about the work, you know? We work, and work, and work, and that is just what it is,” he adds, “My advice is always two things. One. You got to be original, right? Find something or a new way of doing this old ancient thing that no one has really thought of doing it exactly like this yet. So you find that original angle. And then once you have that, you have to have the work ethic. Be able to go thick and thin. It’s like the old song says, there is no business like show business. You might‘ve lost your favorite uncle, or you’re sick, or you lost the love your life, but the show must go on, you know? You got to be always ready to hit the stage. You got to be ready to sing your heart out when the red light goes on in the studio. You got to make it to the gig. It is constant.”