G. Love’s voice returns in time for him to come back to Harrah’s Lake Tahoe | TahoeDailyTribune.com

G. Love’s voice returns in time for him to come back to Harrah’s Lake Tahoe

Lake Tahoe Action
G. Love and his band, Special Sauce, are back from the singer's vocal cord surgery in time to play Harrah's South Shore Room.

G. Love’s voice is back ” and so is he. The rapping soul singer returned to the road in November in support of his newest album, “Superhero Brother,” after recovering from vocal cord surgery in November.

G. Love suffered complete vocal loss after touring in January 2008, according to a news release from his publicist. A doctor’s visit revealed that he was suffering from an acute vocal hemorrhage, forcing him to cancel a handful of shows. After resting his voice for 10 days, he decided to perform the rest of his schedule while switching to in-ear monitors, quitting smoking, drinking Gatorade instead of whiskey onstage, and working with a vocal therapist.

His vocal cords hemorrhaged again after a benefit show early last summer, on the eve of touring with his band, Special Sauce. G. Love refused doctors’ advice to cancel the tour, and remained on complete vocal rest when not on stage. He underwent surgery to repair his vocal cords in early November. After remaining on vocal rest into the next month, he learned that the surgery was successful.

“We got a new lineup with Houseman (Jeffrey Clemens), Mark Boyce and Timo Shanko filling out the Special Sauce,” G. Love wrote on his Web site in February. “I had a successful surgery on my vocal chords, and I’m not lying when I say I’m sounding better and stronger than ever. We also got some hot new jams and some old-school ones, too. We knows times are tough, but we really hope to see you soon at a theater near you.”

G. Love and Special Sauce hit the road in February for a tour beginning in Kansas City and visiting not only Harrah’s South Shore Room but also Stubbs in Austin, Texas, the Fox Theatre in Boulder, Colo., and the Warfield in San Francisco.

G. Love and Special Sauce were of the first to acts to mix hip-hop lyrics with bluesy, jazzy rock and funk (think Basehead or Shwayze and Cisco Adler, not Limp Bizkit). Their self-titled 1994 debut contained hits in “Cold Beverage” and “Rodeo Clowns,” and merited four out of five stars from Lake Tahoe Action’s main competitor, Rolling Stone.

We’ve always been accepted by the artists, because I’ve played with everybody,” the performer, born Garrett Dutton, told Nekesa Mumbi Moody of The Associated Press. “When we first came out, we would do a lot of hip-hop shows. … Definitely some of those gigs were kind of tough. The hip-hop community doesn’t necessarily want to see three white dudes up there playing guitar and doing kind of a different rap thing when they are trying to see one of their favorites. It’s definitely a critical audience, I don’t think it’s the most open audience period, honestly, but I always felt that we got a lot of respect from the rappers and the DJs and the producers who make that music, so that was always pretty heartening. At the end of the day, we’re not a hip-hop act. I would say we’re a rock ‘n’ roll act.”

G. Love moved to his friend Jack Johnson’s label, Brushfire Records, in 2004 and joined Johnson and like-minded musician Donavon Frankenreiter on tour, headlining Jazz Aspen Snowmass in Colorado, where the three musicians played a set together, that year. “Lemonade,” featuring Johnson, Ben Harper, and Sacramento-rooted hip-hop act Blackalicous, followed two years later.

“We were in the studio, and the band was kind of struggling a little bit, not on any kind of vibe, just like not a good vibe, and the best way to break that up is to invite some special guests over … and then we wouldn’t be bickering … we’d be on our best behavior,” Dutton said. “I think it’s just a good catalyst for positive energy in the studio.

The opener for G. Love and Special Sauce at Harrah’s is Eric Hutchinson. Hutchinson grew up writing songs in suburban Takoma Park, Md., and debut with “Sounds Like This” on his own label, Let’s Break Records, in August 2007, according to the musician’s biography. The album spawned a single, “Oh!” which reached No. 1 on the Heatseekers chart in Billboard magazine the next month. The album went on to peak at No. 5 on the iTunes chart.

“I tried really hard to keep it organic,” he said on his Web site. “Music is human expression and what’s more human than to make a mistake? So to record something and then take out all the mistakes leaves the project with no soul to it.”

The singer-guitarist-keyboard player moved to New York last spring and began putting together a road band. The trio of Hutchinson, drummer Jimmy Coleman and Tom Craskey on bass launched a tour with OneRepublic in January. Hutchinson is using the road to try out material for his next record.

“I need to be able to road test songs before I feel comfortable putting them on an album,” he said.

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