When I was becoming one with my instruments and my “musical calling,” I heard rave reviews about this Jack Johnson. It was 3-4 years ago and already he had released his 3rd album In Between Dreams. “You play guitar!” people said, “You should listen to him.” I was sceptical. I had always admired the likes of Dylan, and other singer songwriters, but I never got into one. I purchased his first album Inaudible Melodies, and I sat back and listened.
Like sitting in a stationary aeroplane, I was literally waiting for the music to take off. But I was surprised it didn’t. It remained at this constant mellow tempo throughout. It was soothing. In the last years of my teenage twilight I never thought id be sitting back chilling to his soothing sounds. I was relaxed. I was refreshed. I wanted more.
It was the summer of 2006, and the hottest the UK had ever seen (I could be lieing, as I may live in America, who knows). And everywhere I went I noticed people had Jack Johnson on their ipods or mp3 players. Every opportunity I got, I put it on, as if I was surprised to see him on there. BBQ’s, gatherings, driving in the sunshine, chilling with people, whenever, Jack Johnson was on and playing. And he was brilliant.
I remember in my spare time picking up the guitar and playing chords and a rhythm I had never played before, it was just so fresh, so neat, sooo cool. I loved it. I remember times when I would be with a girl just listening to his soothing voice and guitar slaps, or chilling on a beach on holiday, or awakening with friends in the morning and his music being the first we will hear as the day began. We didn’t realise it, but he became an integral part of what is the best time of the year for everyone. Jack Johnson became a summer artist.
Whenever it was cold, grey, depressing, windy, or just plain shit, a bit of JJ turned my emotions around. I played some of his songs in mid January when it was colder than Alaska outside, and people began a craving for cocktails and summer drinks. We wanted to all sit outside and act like hippies. Unfortunately, it was too bloody cold.
When I was once in a dreadful routine of conducting business in the city (which included wearing a suit, waking up at the crack of dawn, and all that rubbish), there were times where my journey on the underground were made slightly more pleasant with JJ’s happy go lucky music playing in my ears almost every day. It would send me to those times of me on the beach, or chilling out in the summer.
I wanted to research an artist that was fast becoming a favourite of mine, so I bought a biography about him, which was written by man who actually hadn’t met Jack, but had studied him intensely. He wrote about how he was a simple man, not motivated by money. In fact, he was a surfer growing up in Hawaii. After a dangerous surfing accident, Jack was left to sit on the beach, and watch his friends enjoy the surf. That was when he picked up a guitar, and his life from that moment changed.
I am fascinated by his philosophy, and he really he is a cool, nice guy. His friends and family claim to have never seen him mad. His persona is portrayed in his music. He lives a life, which we all want to live. After seeing him live, critics mentioned that in the summer of 2008 at a massive Hyde Park concert he “never went up a gear.” Jack doesn’t need to go up a gear. He is in neutral, and has been all his life, and still turns out fantastic music which is for people who can relate to it best. Chill people.
So next time the summer comes around, you are chilling on the beach, or perhaps you are with a cute girl, the sun is shining, or maybe you are stressed and confused and in desperate need to relax. Sit back, listen to On and On (my favourite album of his), and hopefully you will learn to admire the dude, as much as I have grown to.
His new album En Concert is out now, which a beautiful collection of live tracks he has played around the world on his most recent tour. Its wonderful.