In times of crisis, it’s more important than ever to check in on your friends and loved ones. Here at XPN, we’re Checking In With our extended musical family to see how they’re holding up during the Coronavirus quarantine…and what music has kept them grounded. Today, Dan Reed chats with G. Love.

When we caught up with Philly native G. Love via phone, he was at home in Orleans, Massachusetts, making a chicken coop to go with the new hobby he’s picked up in the post-Coronavirus era. “Farmer G!,” he laughs, noting that he and his children have begun caring for about a dozen chicks “once the hunker-down started.”

“Hunker-down” is also a phrase he uses for his nightly Instagram happy hour performances, The Hunker-Down Sessions, where he takes a song from across his catalog and breaks it down, shares how to play it. And on Thursdays and Saturdays at 4 p.m. ET, he plays G. Love’s Home Show Pop-Off on Instagram and Facebook Live, a tip-based concert to raise money for both his out-of-a-gig bandmates and crew, and other in the industry who are out of work right now.

“This is a different thing for everybody,” G. Love says. “You got kids to occupy, you gotta occupy yourself, everyone’s taking a huge financial hit, everyone’s business is in trouble. But what we have for the first time in forever is a surplus of time, which is a very valuable thing.” 

He is looking at at least 7 months without touring — he’s never had more than two or three weeks off at a time since his career started in 1993. And he encourages folks in similar predicaments to “Look at this as an opportunity to do something you’ve never had time to do.”

In our conversation, G. Love talks about all of this, about working with folks like Robert Randolph, Keb Mo, and Marcus King on his new album The Juice, and about the online music lessons he’s been giving students in his downtime — one of which is a young songwriter from Philly who gives XPN a shoutout in his lyrics.

Listen to our conversation in full and check out G. Love’s Checking In music picks below.

Checking In With G. Love

Favorite Song Of All Time: “Wild Horses” by The Rolling Stones

“That was a song that popped into my head. I love the song, it’s a very beautiful song, I have a bit of a sixth degree connection to it, since Jim Dickinson — also the father of Luther and Cody Dickinson of North Mississippi Allstars — he produced my second record, and he plays piano on that track. And that’s my connection to it. Aside from that, I love it. Who doesn’t like a little Rolling Stones?”

Song That Raises Your Spirits: “Girl From The North Country” by Bob Dylan

“It’s profound in its simplicity. It’s a love song in the most traditional sense. As a harmonica player, the harmonica playing is so sensitive. It’s just solo acoustic as well, which to me was always appealing as someone who started as a coffee shop plays solo acoustic and still do. There’s another amazing version that Johnny Cash and Bob Dylan do on Nashville Skyline, too — I love this version because they kind of mess up, and of stumble across some of the lyrics. You can tell they got their guitars, stood in front of a microphone, maybe rehearsed it or not, and that’s it.”

Song You’re Most Proud Of Working On: “The Juice” by G. Love

“This track for me is important on a lot of levels. For one thing, it’s a blueprint musically of hip-hop blues that we kind of invented in hometown Philly. It has Delta blues and it has rap, and for me, I’m kind of all in on this song. It’s a protest song, but it’s not a protest song against something, it’s more of a rallying cry for people out there who are marching in marches and going to rallies, and politicians on a local, state, and federal level who are pushing forward progressive agendas. It’s kind of a rallying cry to bring energy to those people.”