A way to liven up any chord progression is by the use of connecting the chords via chord tones. This can take any chord progression, as Jack Johnson is known to do, and add a "bass player" quality while also making the harmony more interesting and rhythmic.
This A major example is a livened up chord progression that creates this sound by connecting each chord by chord tones and other notes in the key of A. The right hand is using a pick to strum the chords, while also keeping a strong rhythm with the wrist hitting the guitar bridge.
All of these elements mixed together takes what once was a common chord progression, and brings it to life in a new way that has proven Jack Johnson and other singer-songwriters success in simplicity.
A similar technique can be heard in Jack Johnson's song, "Good People."