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Former Surfer Takes Unlikely Road to Pop Stardom


Jack Johnson, 29, knows about being in the spotlight. Before breaking into the music business he was a professional surfer, riding the big waves of Oahu until a surfing accident curtailed his career. He then earned a degree in film, and was set on becoming a director when another career choice, music, landed him a contract to record his first album.

Jack Johnson sings and plays acoustic guitar with the ease of a 20-year music veteran. And he's been drawing sellout crowds. Having spent years surfing in his native Hawaii, and then studying filmmaking at the University of California, Jack is taking the sudden attention on his music in stride.

Jack Johnson has released three albums since 2001, his latest titled In Between Dreams. He composed all of the songs on the CD, including "Crying Shame," a tune typical of his roots rock style: lyrical, upbeat, distinctive and tranquil. One listener commented that his debut album caused "chronic head bobbing." Another wrote, "Our kids, ages six and three, ask for Jack Johnson every time we get in the car."

Critics are in agreement, calling him "super laid back, humble and understated." Not surprising, since his entire band consists of guitar, bass and drums. And then there are times, whether it's on stage or on record, that it's just Jack alone with his guitar.

Surfing and film will always be Jack Johnson's passion. He's even combined them with his love for music in two movies about surfing. But for now, Jack is riding a bigger wave as he performs on his world tour. Perhaps he will find some time to surf while performing in Australia, New Zealand and Hawaii, before taking his trio to Europe and Japan. He's reserved most of his mid-year concert dates for the United States.

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