As much as he admits to hoping that "The Electric Mile" will "blow up" commercially, the front man of perennial blues/rock group G. Love & Special Sauce is not willing to forsake the sound
As much as he admits to hoping that "The Electric Mile" will "blow up" commercially, the front man of perennial blues/rock group G. Love & Special Sauce is not willing to forsake the sound that has earned the act an ardent cult following.
"Don't get me wrong -- I'm trying to 'blow up' like everyone else. I'm always trying to do the best I can," says G. Love, aka Garrett Dutton, before asserting that the new disc is simply a natural progression of the music the band's been making since signing to Epic seven years ago.
The sound of G. Love & Special Sauce (which also includes drummer Jeffrey Clemens and double-bassist Jimmy Prescott) is too diverse to pigeonhole. As exemplified on "The Electric Mile" -- due April 24 -- the band melds blues, classic rock, jazz, rap, modern rock, and reggae.
"What separates this record from other records out now is that it's very organic and rootsy," Dutton says. "It's also honest -- that has always been at the root our success, and it's been our downfall."
Consistent with that honesty, Dutton -- the act's guitarist and vocalist, as well as its primary songwriter -- accurately describes "The Electric Mile" as "dark, ethereal, striving, emotional, and bluesy because it's got the blues -- but there's also some greens and purples as well."
The leader of the Philadelphia-based threesome is especially pleased with the "continuity" of their latest recording. "We wanted a record that sounded like one session at the same studio," Dutton notes, adding that the band originally wanted the sessions to be just the trio with no special guests. "But we [wound up having] about four or five who really brought everything to a new level," he says, referring to organist John Medeski of Medeski, Martin & Wood and Morphine drummer Billy Conway, among others.
In terms of marketing, "The Electric Mile" will benefit from the band's relationship with Epic marketing director Scott Carter, who has been working with the act since 1997 and is an unabashed fan. "[Dutton has] become an even better songwriter, using more instrumentation on this album. It has a much fuller sound."
Carter is confident that Epic will reach the band's loyalists and also expand its audience. The label started its campaign April 2, when it shipped the single "Unified" to modern rock radio. "The last single, 'Rodeo Clowns' [from 1999's "Philadelphonic"] got played a lot on [that format]," Carter says. "We're going after those formats again."
G. Love & Special Sauce also has substantial Internet visibility. The act's management company, Philadelphonic, maintains a site for the band (philadelphonic.com), as does Epic (G-Love.com).
Adding to the band's multimedia cachet are the enhanced features of "The Electric Mile" CD, which include film footage assembled by Dutton. The CD also uses ConnecteD technology, which takes computer users directly to G. Love.com, where they will be able to download "One Nature," a Web-exclusive track.
Regardless of such high-tech marketing methods, G. Love & Special Sauce is a band that can -- and does -- thrive simply by being on the road, Carter says. Dutton agrees. "We've played Woodstock, which was 200,000 people, and we've played bars in Little Rock, Ark., that were for 300 people," he notes. "I've found that we carry best in [the latter] setting."
G. Love & Special Sauce recently wrapped up a series of pre-release gigs and are due to begin a full-fledged tour shortly after the release of "The Electric Mile.