When choosing a title for his seventh studio album, Jack Johnson lifted a lyric from the opening track: a warm and wistful meditation on keeping perspective in frenzied times. “All the Light Above It Too refers to the sun and how it shines in all directions,” says Johnson, a Hawaii-based, multi-platinum-selling singer/songwriter.
The follow-up to 2013’s From Here to Now to You, All the Light Above It Too finds Johnson returning to the stripped-back, homegrown feel of the four-track recordings that launched his career over 17 years ago. “Whenever I listen back to demos or sketches for songs, there’s a spirit there that I really love, even if it’s just recorded on my laptop or my phone,” he says.
Produced by Johnson and Robbie Lackritz (Feist, Bahamas), the new LP came to life at the Mango Tree Studio, the home recording space where he’s created each album since 2003’s On and On. While his longtime bandmates accompanied him on several tracks, Johnson handled most of the instrumentation on his own, sculpting many of the songs around his graceful guitar performance. But despite the simplicity of that approach, All the Light Above It Too emerges as an album that’s undeniably rich in both texture and emotion. In shaping the emotional terrain of his seventh studio album, Johnson drew from life-changing experiences like his recent sailing trip through the North Atlantic Ocean with 5 Gyres (a nonprofit organization focused on fighting plastic pollution). “Being out on the ocean with no distractions, no TV and no cell phones, that really kickstarted the songwriting process and helped me work through things that had been on my mind,” notes Johnson, whose journey was chronicled in the 2017 documentary The Smog of the Sea.
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