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Brushfire Fairytales

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Album Review

Jack Johnson, the multi-talented American guy who likes to surf and play music, makes an honest impression on his debut album, Brushfire Fairytales. He's not focused on any genre in particular, but stays close to acoustic simplicities. Ben Harper's producer, J.P. Plunier, lends a hand and perfects Johnson's basic songwriting into a charming and inviting soundscape of songs most personal to Johnson. It's poetically abrasive, especially on tracks like "Sexy Plexi" and "Fortunate Fool," but Jack Johnson is a regular guy and his most natural feelings are indeed candid. "Inaudible Melodies" is a bluesy mix of lazy harmonies and acoustical twitching, whereas "Flake" is an easy flow of American trad rock, quite similar to Dave Matthews, but echoing steel drums and Harper's blistering lap steel guitar make for an outstanding rock & roll romp. Johnson's voice, which is hauntingly like Wes Cunningham, makes Brushfire Fairytales a decent record. He's not noisy or gregarious. He's content with his new creative finding. He might chase waves in his other life, but his songwriting ways do make for something quite charming.


Born: 18 May 1975 in Oahu, Hawaii

Genre: Rock

Years Active: '90s, '00s, '10s

Before Jack Johnson became the 21st century kingpin of beachside pop/rock, he was a champion surfer on the professional circuit. The sport was second nature to the Hawaiian native, who began chasing waves as a toddler and, by the age of 17, had become an outstanding athlete on the Banzai Pipeline. However, Johnson was also testing other creative outlets -- specifically film and music -- and a serious surfing accident during his first professional competition convinced him to devote more time to those...
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