Critic's Choice

Jack Johnson has an almost obscene number of things going for him. A professional surfer in his teens and a filmmaker in his twenties, Johnson only recently discovered his talents as a pianist, songwriter and vocalist. Good thing he did: Johnson's self-titled debut album is a soulful, pleasingly simple collection that rolls along with breezy guitar melodies and punchy percussion. Johnson owes a clear stylistic debt to his pals and sometime musical collaborators, Ben Harper and G. Love & Special Sauce (for the latter, he penned the hit "Rodeo Clowns" last year). Yet Johnson's work is underscored by a force of personality that makes the music all his own. Local audiences will have plenty of chances to see Johnson in coming weeks: He appears at the Soiled Dove on Saturday, July 14, and at Tulagi on Monday, July 16; on Friday, July 20, and Saturday, July 21, Johnson opens for Toots & the Maytals at the Fox Theatre. Apparently stamina is another one of his gifts.


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