As I was listening to Jack Johnson’s album To The Sea (2010), I was struck by a strange need to don a straw hat and dungarees, and start reading The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn.

The music is laid-back and easy-going in a modern-folk-soft-rock kinda-way.  And I’m sure it would feel extremely constrained by any sniff of a sentence with five hyphens in it.

So it was extremely gratifying to read in JJ’s Wiki entry that he is ‘an American folk rock singer-songwriter, surfer and musician known for his work in the soft rock and acoustic genres’.

So am I really right to link JJ and HF?  Here’s my classic image of the latter taken from the 1884 edition of the book and courtesty of Wiki:

Life seems so simple, doesn’t it!  And on the surface, the lilting, soft rhythms on To The Sea invite you to ease back, put your feet up and have a snooze.

But, hang on…  Behind those apparently groovy hand claps and chipy piano riffs, we get lyrics like these:

Now everybody’s in the play
At least that’s what the script told me to say
I’d say, shadows cut across the hero’s face
He  falls from grace until a little bird sang
The truth is never ending
We’re  just here pretending
Let’s all  laugh so that we don’t cry
Let’s  all lift our glasses up to the sky for some
Red wine, mistakes, apologies

And it’s all just red wine, headaches, mythology

Turns out, JJ doesn’t want us to chill out to this music after all.  And rightly so – it deserves a bit more effort than that.  Tracks such as Only the Ocean, Better Together and No Good With Faces are particularly worth a play.  No way could I listen both to this and concentrate on reading A Great American Novel.  Raft or no Raft.

*Adventures of Huckleberry Finn – Mark Twain

5 thoughts on “‘You feel mighty free and easy and comfortable on a raft’*

  1. You’re right, it’s so easy to overlook his lyrics and just chill out….. I’m going to pay more attention next time one of his songs comes on my iPod! What beautiful lyrics you chose!

  2. Huckleberry Finn was my absolute favourite book in high school. Even now, I love the way Mark Twain uses stories to weave a tapestry that reflects the good and tragic of that time! Excellent post!

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