As both a solo performer and with longtime backing band Special Sauce, Garrett “G. Love” Dutton has been making music for nearly 25 years.
It’s the same for one-time professional surfer Donavan Frankenreiter, who, before dropping his solo debut in 2004, played guitar for 10 years with the band Sunchild.
Grammy-nominated producer Cisco Adler has worked with Wiz Khalifa and Mike Posner, as well as fronting the band Whitestarr and writing/producing for Shwayze.
And now all three of them have formed the Jamtown.
They’ll soon be releasing a 5-song EP that also features contributions from Cody Dickinson of North Mississippi Allstars, Duane Betts of Dawes, Citizen Cope, and Uli bella of Ozomatli.
Although there’s no music out yet, that hasn’t stopped Jamtown from hitting the road. In addition to playing their FIRST EVER shows at the Belly Up on Monday and Tuesday night, they’ll spend the summer at places like the Monterey Pop Festival or hitting the Hollywood Bowl as the special guests on Jack Johnson’s new summer tour.
PACIFIC recently got on the phone with G Love to speak about the new group while he took some time off in Sanibel, Florida.
PACIFIC: How did you guys get together?
G LOVE: It’s pretty cool and one of these serendipitous things in life. Way back, Cisco’s and Donavan’s old bands played some shows together at one point.
Flash forward five years to when Donavan went solo and was working with Jack Johnson. He and I were both Brushfire Records recording artists at that time. And we got to know each other through Jack. I guested on his first record and he guested on my second Brushfire release, “Lemonade.”
Since then, we’ve bumped into each other all over the world, played together, and just become good friends. Fast forward five to seven more years, and Cisco and I had been bumping into each other, socially, in the club scene in L.A.
Eventually, that led to us saying one night that we needed to get together in the real world (laughs) and make some music. We started doing some writing sessions and the first song we wrote was the “Just Fine” single from my “Fixin To Die” album that the Avett Brothers produced.
All the while, Donavan and I have been talking about doing an acoustic record, a barbeque record, you know? So finally this past year at a gig in Hawaii we picked a date to do it. And I thought Cisco would be the perfect person to produce it.
But it became more than that.
It did. We had all worked together on Cody Simpson’s “Free” record before and had a great session. So it really seemed like it was all flowing towards this. But the original concept was for Donavan and me to go into the studio and make a four-day record with Cisco producing.
We were going to recorded acoustic versions of some older tunes, maybe a couple of originals, and maybe a couple of covers. So Donavan and I play KAABOO (in 2016) together in San Diego before we are supposed to get into the studio and Donny has a family emergency and has to go back to Hawaii. He can’t make the session.
So Cisco and I figure we’ll still do it and work on some writing stuff. But I kind of have a problem with punctuality (laughs).
When: 8 p.m. April 24 & 25
Where: Belly Up, 143 S. Cedros Ave., Solana Beach
So you missed the session, too?
No. I was running late. But when I got there, I s--t you not, Cisco had already come up with the freshest and coolest, jangly, beach-y sound that I’ve ever heard. And it was so simple.
We wrote the song “Strawberry Moon” right there. Had it done in an hour. And we were like, ‘oh, s--t.’ We ended up cutting five tunes, including one called “Jamtown.” We knew right there that this wasn’t what we thought it was going to be. This was a band.
So I called Donavan, played him the music, and he started freaking out, and we knew we had something. Then we all got together for another session, and we ended up with 10 songs. It’s exciting. And the music is so innocent. It was flowing.
Cisco led us down the path of letting go. We couldn’t come to the studio with a pre-written song. You could come with a riff or a lyrical idea, but not a whole song. There was no cutting one of your old tunes going on. Everything was done right there. It was joyous. We’re all grown men, but it was like three boys in a tree house making a band in the eighth grade. It was the way you should always make music.
A 5-song EP is coming out. What are you doing with the other songs?
We just decided to pick our five favorite songs of the ones we cut to start. But we did save “Jamtown” for the full-length we’ll record this fall after we do the festivals and Jack shows this summer.
You guys might have to put your other gigs away for a while. Sounds like this project has some legs.
Well, it’s a good problem to have. And all three of us are ecstatic about it. Every once and a while, the stars align. Everyone shows up and you hit gold. It’s happening right now and we’re all ready.