Home  |  Hi-Fi Audio Reviews  Audiophile Shows Partner Mags  News       

High-End High-Performance Audiophile Review Magazine & Hi-Fi Audio Equipment Reviews
Audiophile Equipment Review Magazine High-End Audio

  High-Performance Audio Reviews
  Music News, Show Reports, And More!

  29 Years Of Service To Music Lovers

Enjoy the Music.com Review Magazine

Jack Johnson
Brushfire Fairytales

Review By A. Colin Flood
Click here to e-mail reviewer

Jack Johnson Brushfire Fairytales

CD Label: Enjoy Records 0-4228609942-2


  If you think this is about Jack Johnson, the world's first African-American heavyweight boxing champion (1878 -1946), convicted in 1912 of transporting his white wife across state lines, and for whom Miles Davis made a tribute album for -- this is not that Jack Johnson.

This is the other one. This is about the young Jack Johnson who made two water and surf related movies. This about the young Jack Johnson whose beguiling simple and addictive "Brushfire Fairytales" CD is in endless rotation on my player since I heard his seductive tenor with a tightly interwoven bopping bass and percussion.

If you like the barely half-spoken singing of John Mayer's hit, "Your Body Is A Wonderland," currently gracing the airwaves, I think you will like this one. If the quiet Paul Simon album was a little too sedate for you, this disc is a younger, hipper, simpler and much more enticing version. The young Jack Johnson's voice is not quite as strong as James Taylor, nor as smoothly velvet as Michael Franks, but Jack Johnson the singer wisely doesn't push or over-extend off his capabilities.

With his trio of guitar, bass and drums, this is an acoustic album through and through. "Brushfire Fairytales" is like James Taylor's mellow singer/songwriter work, with a relaxed beauty and understated depth that rewards repeated listening. The album is amazing simply on its minimalism. It holds your attention without the commercial smoke and mirrors of pop acoustic rock. The young Jack Johnson has something to say in sometimes-cryptic lyrics.

Born in Oahu, Hawaii, the young Jack Johnson, a former surfer and film-school graduate, has a knack for acoustic ballads whose calm surfaces hide a subtle but strong lyrical undertow. Like the cover, Jack Johnson's lyrics and song titles don't make simple sense in relation to each other, though they are mostly about young adult soul-searching and relationships. In "Posters," for example, he sings about the superficiality of one-dimensional wall hangings (people?), without directly referring to them:

Well I'm a superficial, systematic, music television addict 
Check out my outsides there ain't nothing in 
Here comes another one, just like the other one 
Looking at himself but wishing he was someone else

The young Jack Johnson maintains a steady pace and sound. Great guitar and bass rhythms, with creative lyrics, give off a certain vibe that appeals to listener's ears. Johnson's voice is a smooth flow with a distinct confidence. His lyrics are fun, sad and political. Some folks criticize this album for its lack of variation. However, it is appealing enough to make the Billboard Top 100.

The album retains an artistic feel to it -- as if he had most of the creative input about the visual and sonic aspects of its production. The blue colored album cover has a picture of Jack Johnson the singer huddled under a hood as the frustrations and joys of life raining down on him, but there seems to be no explanation of lyrics that directly refer to a rain-soaked spirit or person.

Johnson says his musical influences are "Nick Drake, The Beatles, Hendrix, Tribe Called Quest, Dylan, Ben Harper, Radio Head, G. Love and Special Sauce, Otis Redding, Neil Young, Marley, Kurosawa, Tom Curren and so on."

Equally important to the album, and the unsung hero of it, is the bass player known as Merlot. His spot on rhythms carry the beat in the foreground with the lyrics and the guitar work. Merlot credits Thelonious Monk, Michael Jordan, King Tubby, Bruce Lee and Bob Marley for his influences.




Sound Quality:













































Quick Links

Premium Audio Review Magazine
High-End Audiophile Equipment Reviews


Equipment Review Archives
Turntables, Cartridges, Etc
Digital Source
Do It Yourself (DIY)
Cables, Wires, Etc
Loudspeakers/ Monitors
Headphones, IEMs, Tweaks, Etc
Superior Audio Gear Reviews



Show Reports
HIGH END Munich 2024
AXPONA 2024 Show Report
Montreal Audiofest 2024 Report

Southwest Audio Fest 2024
Florida Intl. Audio Expo 2024
Capital Audiofest 2023 Report
Toronto Audiofest 2023 Report
UK Audio Show 2023 Report
Pacific Audio Fest 2023 Report
T.H.E. Show 2023 Report
Australian Hi-Fi Show 2023 Report
...More Show Reports


Our Featured Videos


Industry & Music News

High-Performance Audio & Music News


Partner Print Magazines
Australian Hi-Fi Magazine
hi-fi+ Magazine
Sound Practices
VALVE Magazine


For The Press & Industry
About Us
Press Releases
Official Site Graphics





Home   |   Hi-Fi Audio Reviews   |   News   |   Press Releases   |   About Us   |   Contact Us


All contents copyright  1995 - 2024  Enjoy the Music.com
May not be copied or reproduced without permission.  All rights reserved.