New Jack Johnson live album spotlights friends, Kokua Festival

Just in time for Earth Day, Brushfire Records will release Jack Johnson and Friends – Best of Kokua Festival on April 17th. The album features a 13-track compilation of live performances from Jack Johnson’s benefit concert for the Kokua Hawaii Foundation. In support of the release, Johnson will also tour the Hawaiian Islands for an intimate seven-date all acoustic tour. Proceeds from Best of Kokua Festival and the tour will benefit the Kokua Hawaii Foundation.

Culled from six years of his eco-minded music festival, Jack Johnson and Friends – Best of Kokua Festival, highlights onstage collaborations with legendary musicians like Willie Nelson, Jackson Browne, Eddie Vedder, Ben Harper, Dave Mathews, Ziggy and Damian “Jr. Gong” Marley and more.

Johnson and his band team up with more than a dozen guest artists to perform both original works and spirited covers of classic songs. The album features several of Johnson’s breezy folk-rock gems, including “Constellations” (with Eddie Vedder), “Mudfootball” (with Ozomatli & G. Love), “Breakdown” (with ukulele virtuoso Jake Shimabukuro), and “Better Together” (with Hawaiian singer Paula Fuga).

Elsewhere on  Best of Kokua Festival, Johnson joins his guests for stripped-down renditions of their own songs: Taj Mahal offers his bluesy “Further On Down The Road,” Jackson Browne revisits “Take It Easy” with the help of singer/guitarist John Cruz (who also shares his Hawaiian anthem “Island Style”), and the Marley brothers bring the reggae with Ziggy’s “Cry, Cry, Cry” and Damian’s dancehall banger “Welcome to Jamrock.”

Rounding out the record are an eclectic collection of covers, including Bob Marley’s “High Tide or Low Tide” (featuring Ben Harper), Bob Dylan’s “I Shall Be Released” (featuring Eddie Vedder) and Jimmy Buffet’s “A Pirate Looks at Forty” (featuring Dave Matthews and Tim Reynolds). Willie Nelson, meanwhile, delivers a Harper-assisted take on “Blue Eyes Crying in the Rain,” the Fred Rose-penned classic he popularized.

Held on Earth Day weekend at Honolulu’s Waikiki Shell since its inception in 2004, the Kokua Festival serves as both a community-centered celebration of music and environmental awareness and as the major fundraiser for the Kokua Hawaii Foundation (a nonprofit organization founded by Johnson and his wife Kim in 2003 to support environmental education in the schools and communities of Hawaii). Like the festival itself, Jack Johnson and Friends – Best of Kokua Festival spotlights artists who share the Kokua Hawaii Foundation’s mission of protecting the planet and cultivating environmental consciousness.

Not only a showcase for live music, the Kokua Festival offers a major educational component. A clearinghouse of over fifty eco-friendly businesses and local environmental groups interact with fans in the Kokua Village, which features sustainable products, alternative-energy demonstrations, local food and beverages, and activities for kids.

Best of Kokua Festival is Johnson’s follow-up to his fifth studio album To The Sea, which debuted at #1 on the Billboard Top 200 Albums Chart when it was released in June 2010. After the album’s release, Johnson will head out with John Cruz and Paula Fuga for a seven-date, all-acoustic tour of Hawaii. The tour will include stops on Kauai (April 19 at Kauai Community College Performing Arts Center), Oahu (April 21 and 22 at Hawaii Theatre), Maui (April 25 and 26 at Castle Theater), and the Big Island (April 28 and 29 at Kahilu Theatre).


Jack Johnson and Friends – Best of Kokua Festival track listing:

1.     Better Together – Jack Johnson with Paula Fuga

2.     Cry, Cry, Cry – Ziggy Marley with Jack Johnson & Paula Fuga

3.     A Pirate Looks At Forty – Jack Johnson, Dave Matthews & Tim Reynolds

4.     Mudfootball – Jack Johnson with Ozomatli & G. Love

5.     Constellations – Jack Johnson with Eddie Vedder & Kawika Kahiapo

6.     Take It Easy – Jackson Browne with Jack Johnson & John Cruz

7.     Island Style – John Cruz with Jack Johnson & Jackson Browne

8.     Breakdown – Jack Johnson with Jake Shimabukuro

9.     Further On Down The Road – Taj Mahal with Jack Johnson

10.   Welcome To Jamrock – Damian “Jr. Gong” Marley with Jack Johnson & Paula Fuga

11.   High Tide or Low Tide – Ben Harper & Jack Johnson

12.   Blue Eyes Crying In the Rain – Willie Nelson with Jack Johnson & Ben Harper

13.   I Shall Be Released – Jack Johnson, Eddie Vedder, Zach Gill & Friends


Jack Johnson Hawaiian Island Tour Dates:

An acoustic evening with Jack Johnson, John Cruz and Paula Fuga

April 19th                         Kauai                         Kauai Community College Performing Arts Center

April 21st and 22nd             Oahu                         Hawaii Theatre

April 25th and 26th             Maui                         Castle Theatre

April 28th and 29th             Big Island             Kahilu Theatre