G. Love & Special Sauce's Garrett Dutton: "You Gotta Put the Work In to Get Out There"

Emmett Malloy
There are few acts like G. Love & Special Sauce, the genre-bridging Philadelphia alt-hip-hop trio that's been at it for two decades now, and there are even fewer frontmen quite like Garrett Dutton. Best known for his rapping approach within G. Love & Special Sauce, Dutson isn't afraid to display his long-established blues proclivities as well.

Even at his set at the Fender MLB Stratocaster event last week at the W Hotel in Scottsdale, Dutton pulled out a Bukka White cover in addition to his own blues tunes. He's not shy about his love for the Delta blues, however -- his chops, from playing to knowledge about the genre's legends, stem back to his childhood and run up through his work today.

"The people that know it find out about those old records, and there's no way to not find something in there to really latch onto," he says. "I think a lot of people don't search back far enough. Once I heard that sound, I was like 'Oh, this is what I want to do,' and then it was just like a whole world was opened up once you knew about it. Every one of those old records is like an old book to read and a new style to learn."

Absorbing such material for so long, and at such a young age, lends a sense of validation to Dutton's body of work, as he often works in medium where anyone else's authenticity might be questioned.

With the release of 2011's Fixin' To Die, one of four solo releases by Dutton, he was able to manifest the blues affinity of his youth and filter it through 20 years worth of experience. While he feels that age isn't necessarily a disbarring factor from creating true blues music, time does add something that can't be taught.

"When I was a teenager learning all those records, there was such a raw passion and excitement and energy that I was getting out of it and putting right into it that was powerful in its own way," he says. "I felt like because I had to wait 20 years to record a lot of this stuff, it really had a lot more depth, just kind of soaked in a lot of years of playing and sounded a lot more authentic."

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Margaret T. Hance Park

1134 N. Central Ave., Phoenix, AZ

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