Starting back in 2004, Jack Johnson gathered together his fellow musicians and began the Kokua Festival to benefit the Kokua Hawaii Foundation. The Foundation, a non-profit organization, supports environmental, music and art education across the world. The festival was first held in 2004 and continued on through 2008 and one more time in 2010.
Now, for or those who were never able to make it to the Hawaiian Islands to enjoy the Kokua Festival in person, Jack has now brought a small musical slice of the festival to the world with “Best of Kokua Festival”. And in kind, has also brought a way for more people to help out a worthy cause as well. A portion of proceeds from the sale of the album go to the foundation, and Jack has dedicated the album to the keiki (or kids) of Hawaii.
The album includes performances that were recorded over the six years the festival was held, and includes Johnson collaborating with artists like Ziggy Marley, Eddie Vedder, Jackson Browne, Ozomatli, G-Love, Dave Matthews and Willie Nelson to name a few.
The album is everything that a live album should be; it transports you to a specific place and time and allows you to have a similar experience as the concert goers. It’s a fantastic summer album that features stellar performances and makes the listener feel like they are on the Island with their toes in the sand.
A few of the standout tracks on the album include the Jimmy Buffett classic, “A Pirate Looks at Forty”, a song that Johnson has been known to perform on tour and joined on the live track by Dave Matthews and Tim Reynolds. It’s an amazing vocal performance by all three of the artists, who seem to be having an intimate jam session than performing in front of a festival sized crowd.
Also included in the album is a performance of Johnson’s song, “Constellations”, which was originally featured on the 2005 release, ‘In Between Dreams’. This time around Johnson is joined on vocals by Pearl Jam front man, Eddie Vedder, and the match up of their vocals results in something absolutely amazing.
Plenty of great artists join Johnson on the album, and the live performances capture an “island feel” to songs that you wouldn’t expect. For example, Country singing legend Willie Nelson is joined by Ben Harper and Jack Johnson for an incredible rendition of “Blue Eyes Crying in the Rain” that has much less of the traditional country feel to it and much more of a Hawaii Islands mellowness to it.
The album on a whole, not just a fantastic representation of six years of the festival, but also a relaxing listen that also supports a very worthy cause as well.
To view more performances, view special messages from Johnson, and for more information on the Kokua Foundation and Festival, log on to http://kokuafestival.com/best/
Written by Christina Lawler
OurVinyl | Contributor
To purchase this album, click here.