Jack Johnson: The Ripple Effect

Though he never intended on becoming a household name—to the degree that Saturday Night Live spoofed his laidback nature in good fun—Jack Johnson might be the most unassuming guy to ever sell 19 million records. And once Johnson found himself on an unimaginable trajectory of commercial success, he decided to harness that popularity to help catalyze environmental change on a wide scale, unlike any artist before him. While he still thinks of music as a hobby, he’s transformed the way that legions of music fans engage with the world around them. Editor Josh Baron speaks with Johnson, his wife Kim and others to get insight into what makes this unassuming rock star tick.

Sly and The Family Stone: Funk Revolutionaries

Sly Stone may be the most innovative rock and soul artist in the history of American music. As more than one historian has remarked, “There are two kinds of soul music—before Sly and after Sly.” These days, the music of Sly and The Family Stone, the band that Sly put together in 1966, is often overshadowed by their leader’s reclusive nature and eccentric antics, yet the ensemble’s volatile mixture of funk, rock, soul, R&B, jazz, gospel and psychedelia has been the foundation of African- American music since they cracked the charts in 1968. With the release of the new four-CD Sly retrospective Higher!, J. Poet and some of Sly’s closest collaborators look back on why The Family Stone’s music remains vital.

Deer Tick: The Good Times Are Killing Me

Recorded earlier this year in Portland, Ore., with legendary producer/musician Steve Berlin, Negativity finds Deer Tick moving from punk to blues to country and whatever collides in between, to deliver an album that only they could write. For Deer Tick’s fifth full-length, band leader John McCauley channeled a failed wedding engagement, alcohol and drug abuse, his father’s imprisonment and, yes, love, into his strongest collection of material yet. Jeff Miller checks in with the band to see if these self-aggrandizing, alt-country, bad boys can still deliver the goods with a cleaned-up act.

Plus: Robert Hunter, Stephen Stills, Bob Crawford, Matisyahu, Lissie, Nicki Bluhm, Dr. Ralph Stanley, J Roddy Walston & The Business, Robert Walter, Trombone Shorty and much more!

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