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Watch Jack Johnson Rock Three Stripped-Down Tunes

Singer-songwriter tackles acoustic versions of 'To the Sea' track "From the Clouds" and more

June 9, 2010 6:37 PM ET

This week Jack Johnson scored his third consecutive Number One album with To the Sea, an "existential chill-out record that feels substantial, at times even edgy, without feeling forced," as Will Hermes writes in his RS review of the disc. As Johnson told Rolling Stone , picking up an electric guitar wasn't too much of a stretch: "In high school, I played in a band that covered Minor Threat, the Descendents, a little bit of Bad Religion." The new LP also features Mellotrons, crickets and a gecko, who makes a cameo on "Anything But the Truth."

The 35-year-old surfer and songwriter recently returned to his beloved acoustic guitar to lay down a few tracks at New York's Sirius XM studios. Click above to watch his performance of To the Sea's "From the Clouds," and check out two older tunes — In Between Dreams' "Banana Pancakes," and Animal Liberation Orchestra's "Girl, I Wanna Lay You Down" from Fly Between Falls here:

To read the new issue of Rolling Stone online, plus the entire RS archive: Click Here

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Song Stories

“Bird on a Wire”

Leonard Cohen | 1969

While living on the Greek island of Hydra, Cohen was battling a lingering depression when his girlfriend handed him a guitar and suggested he play something. After spotting a bird on a telephone wire, Cohen wrote this prayer-like song of guilt. First recorded by Judy Collins, it would be performed numerous times by artists incuding Johnny Cash, Joe Cocker and Rita Coolidge. "I'm always knocked out when I hear my songs covered or used in some situation," Cohen told Rolling Stone. "I've never gotten over the fact that people out there like my music."

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