In Advance of Saturday's Show at House of Blues, G. Love Talks About Each Track on His New Album

click to enlarge In Advance of Saturday's Show at House of Blues, G. Love Talks About Each Track on His New Album
Kaplan Barowsky
Co-produced and co-written with Grammy winner Keb’ Mo’, G. Love’s latest album, The Juice, features special guests such as Robert Randolph, Marcus King and Roosevelt Collier. On the album’s opening track, “The Juice,” G. Love masterfully slurs his way through the song and emphatically sings, “Time’s up.”

His former label mate Keb’ Mo’ produced the album, and he helps create a unique sound and gets G. Love to delve into blues, jazz, rock, funk and soul even more than he usually does.

In this recent phone interview, G. Love speaks about each track on the album. The disc comes out on Friday, and G. Love performs at 8:30 p.m. on Saturday at House of Blues.

“The Juice”

“It features [singer-guitarist] Marcus King, who is on fire now and he’s crushing. It’s just a reaction to living in a time when I tune into the news and every fuckin’ day is something about the Trump Administration. The first line of the song is ‘no more lies about this and no more lies about that.’ It was a kneejerk reaction. I had written these verses and then had a different chorus. Keb' [Mo’] came up with a different chord progression, and it was one of the most magical things that happened. It’s a perfect example of a successful collaboration. I’ve been playing it live for a minute now and it’s really a wonderful thing because of that call-and-response thing. It’s political and can be polarizing, but it’s more about love and unity and bringing people together and trying to make this world a better place.”


“Keb' said, ‘Play the guitar the natural way you play when you pick up your guitar and don’t even think about it.’ It was a driving rhythm in the key of E. Then, he said, ‘What do you want to the song to be about?’ I said, ‘I want to write the kind of song that I can play when the show is starting and everyone is walking into the room. I want to invite people into my world.’ We went from there and made it into this party song. I like to use phrases that no one has ever thought of before. That’s why I called it a ‘soul-b-que.’ It’s the best thing I can do as a songwriter.”

“Go Crazy”

“It’s kind of an old-school throwback hip-hop thing. This is a funny one too because I think it was the same day we did ‘Soul -B-Que,’ and we didn’t know what we were going to do. Gary Nicholson had an idea. Gary said, ‘I got an idea, chief. What about this: If I don’t go crazy/I’ll lose my mind.’ Keb' liked it. He sang the chorus, and it was pretty good. The last verse is more syncopated and a different kind of flow. That was my shit. For the background vocals, I had an idea for an ’80s-style riff on ‘Jam on It.’”

“Shake Your Hair”

“I wanted to write a song along the lines of R.E.M.’s ‘It’s the End of the World As We Know It,’ Bob Dylan’s ‘Subterranean Homesick Blues’ and Billy Joel’s ‘We Didn’t Start the Fire.’ The whole song is lifting stuff from Western pop culture that people will recognize. Of course, the political divisiveness is there too.”

“Fix Your Face”

“A lot of times I’m reading, and I jot things down. I had this note, ‘Fix your face; all you need is a smile.’ Gary [Nicholson] said, ‘I like that. I think Keb will like that sentiment.’ It’s fun to play that live. As a songwriter, you try to be empathetic. You have to respect women. If you think of Peloton commercials, this is just the opposite of that. It’s like, ‘You don’t need any makeup. It’s your inner beauty that matters.’”

“She’s the Rock”

“I wrote that for my wife. A friend of mine kept writing on his Instagram, “She’s the rock that makes me roll.” I thought that was so sweet, and I wanted to make it into the song. That thing just wrote it itself. There are a million different things I had to leave on the table. The sentiment is, ‘I’m not worthy.’ I’m just celebrating how great my wife is. That’s a heartfelt song, and it’s awesome to perform live. I’ve written a lot of breakup songs over the years, and now I’m happily married, and it’s nice to write songs about that.”

“Diggin’ Roots”

“That was trying to paint the picture of our house and our yard. We had this place in Cape Cod. We would have barbecues and bonfires. People come over and cook and jam and smoke a little weed. It’s really nice. It’s about that. It’s about this phase I’m in in my life. I’m starting a new family and laying roots and digging in.”

“Shine on Moon”

“It’s that notion about being in that old house with a full moon comin’ over the water and shinin’ into the living room. It’s the simple notion of being home with your wife and celebrating your love.”


“It was the only song written outside of our session. It was written with Sam Hollander. He just had a career year and wrote with Panic! at the Disco. We write together often and he often stays in Cape Cod where we live. ‘Birmingham’ is the notion of a tired, worn-out musician feeling like it’s the end and throwing his hands up. He’s burnt to a crisp, and he’s going to get one more chance. You can either die or put your head down and keep going.”

“Drinkin’ Wine”

“It’s the oldest song on the album. You have the melody and a rhythm thing on the verses. There’s a lot of old blues songs about drinking wine, and this has that notion of ‘let’s have some fun before the sun goes down.’ I like to start the show with that a lot.”

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Jeff Niesel

Jeff has been covering the Cleveland music scene for more than 20 years now. And on a regular basis, he tries to talk to whatever big acts are coming through town, too. If you're in a band that he needs to hear, email him at [email protected].
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