Blues guitarist and singer Garrett "G. Love" Dutton has gone back-and-forth so many times in so many ways since his first album in 2004 with Special Sauce (drummer Jeffrey Clemens, bassist Jimi "Jazz" Prescott), that it's hard to know which way is up with him. "It's all good though, no matter what or where I am," says the eternally laid back Dutton.
The singer-guitarist split the Sauce for several years before cobbling back them back together for 2014's "Sugar," 2015's "Love Saves the Day"—two albums that refine the raw blues, rap and country swing vibe they started with on early hits such as "Baby's Got Sauce" and "Cold Beverage."
With theirtwo newest album and, now, a 2016 tour, "It's like we were never apart, though, you know," says Dutton of his trio's nasty blue hip-hop and its deeply worn grooves. "Everything just fell into line and continues to do so; a full realization of the new sound we came up," he says, pointing out Love Saves the Day's mix of Cypress Hill backbeats and Elmore James guitar licks. "We found the roots of what we always wanted to do on Sugar and just kept pushing that blueprint on Love Saves the Day. You push long enough and you're going to come up with good old fashioned rock n' roll."
Having guest stars on the new album such as Los Lobos' David Hidalgo, Lucinda Williams, DJ Logic and Citizen Cope helped the rock roll louder and harder. Still, it all comes down to the threesome that started the Sauce.
Dutton talks about how the writing process amongst the trio's membership is better than ever, a feel that's "natural, organic and easy to hear when the cream rises to the top. We've got a built-in critique, where Jim and I write and Jeff is the voice of reason."
The egos and jealousies of being a young band on the road has dissipated, now that G. Love – still boyishly handsome – is 43-years-old."We're over each other," he says with a laugh "You mellow with age, and do this only because you want, because it's fun. When it's not fun, we break the bottle and go home."
Home is an interesting point, though. There's the fact that Dutton — born and raised in Philadelphia — moved to Boston in 1992, only to move back to Philly to get discovered 12 months later. "I sent in our demo and very quickly got a call from somebody at Studio 4 and Ruffhouse Records," says Dutton, recalling the now-defunct label home to the Fugees and Lauryn Hill. "In 1993, that was like winning the lottery — which I did."
Dutton loves the town he was born and raised in, but as of 2015, has returned to living in Boston with his son Aiden, a drummer who occasionally joins his pop and the Sauce crew on tour.
"Remember, when he used to jump on stage with us when he was a baby?" Dutton asks. "Well, now he and I do gigs along the east coast in-between touring. I tell him that he's got to carry his weight, study those drums nights and joke with him that he's not going to be young and cute forever."
IF YOU GO:
Theater of the Living Arts, Philadelphia
334 South Street