Review: G. Love’s Decisive Journey from North to South
G.Love/Philadelphia Mississippi/Thirty Tigers
Three out of five stars
Following on from its 2020 Grammy-nominated offering, The juice, Philadelphia Mississippi represents a change of direction for Garrett Dutton, better known by his professional pseudonym, G. Love. He finds him venturing into the heart of Mississippi and recording with a local hero of sorts, Luther Dickinson of the esteemed outfit, The North Mississippi All Stars. In a larger sense, however, it’s a complete comeback, given that Dickinson’s father Jim produced G. Love’s second set, Lemonade. (Unsurprisingly, one of the more adamant offerings included here is also titled “Lemonades.”) It also continues a tradition that Love has maintained over the course of his career, both alone and with his longtime band Special Sauce. , meaning constant collaborations with other like-minded artists, from the Avett Brothers and Jack Johnson to Zap Mama.
The host of contributors here includes blues artist Christone “Kingfish” Ingram and founding mainstays RL Boyce and Alvin Youngblood Hart, as well as rappers Schoolly D, Freddie Foxx and Speech, the latter of the band Arrested Development. Their contributions result in a seemingly spontaneous affair and an upbeat, infectious sound, whether in the bluesy designs of “My Ball”, “If My Mind Don’t Change”, “Kickin'” and “Guitar Man” or the his sassy and spunky “Kickin'”, a track reminiscent of Prince in his heyday.
While much of the album relies on rap music to convey its message, there are also obvious infusions of fully fueled funk and Delta lore infused into the proceedings, with G. Love’s harmonica adding an essential ingredient in the mix. The fact that the material was fermented in a studio reflects the easy, airy sound found throughout, with “Laughing in the Sunshine” and the descriptive title “Shouts Out” serving as particularly effusive examples of the generally upbeat attitude. which defines the album. globally. Likewise, “The Philly Sound” with its spoken narrative, bottleneck guitar and relentless beat pays homage to Love’s Philly roots.
With that, the continuum between Philadelphia and Mississippi becomes absolutely incisive.