What could be a better entrée to Jack Johnson's low-key California strumming than one of the beach-bum heartthrob's favorite bands? Given its shared dedication to sand-in-the-sandals, brushfire fairytales, it's no surprise Jack handpicked ALO (short for Animal Liberation Orchestra -- not a PETA action group but a band intent on liberating your inner animal) as his current tour mates. The San Francisco four-piece splashes gentle funk and simple, blue-eyed soul over breezy, keys-driven grooves. A longstanding, road-tested staple of the West Coast underground, ALO is revered on the jam-band circuit for its impassioned live shows that come off as much as calming, group-hugging love-ins as goofy, all-night rock fests. ALO's recent backyard barbecue masterpiece, Flying Between Falls,is a sunset-smokeout showpiece of the band's sugar-coated sound. Johnson's guest spot on "Girl I Wanna Lay You Down" yields exactly the kind of slinky foreplay shuffle that endears ALO to California dreamers everywhere.
Who's got the herb? ALO wants to crash on your couch.