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New John Mayer

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Looks like Johnny Boy is getting over his latest break-up and had a blast on Mayercraft Carrier II.  On board, JM shared one of the new songs that will be on his new, upcoming CD.  Looks like an aptly named effort:

  Heartbreak Warfare (Acoustic)

  Heartbreak Warfare (Electric)

Lightning strikes
Inside, a chance to keep me up at night
Dream of ways
To make you understand my pain

Drop his name
Push it in and twist the knife again
Watch my face
As I pretend to feel no pain

Clouds of sulfur in the air
Bombs are falling everywhere
It’s heartbreak warfare
Once you want it to begin,
No one really every wins
In heartbreak warfare

If you want more love,
why don’t you say so?
If you want more love,
why don’t you say so?  

Clouds of sulfur in the air
Bombs are falling everywhere
It’s heartbreak warfare
Once you want it to begin,
No one really ever wins
In heartbreak warfare.

If you want more love,
why don’t you say so?
If you want more love,
why don’t you say so?

Just say so…

How come the only way to know how high you get me
is to see how far I fall
God only knows how much I’d love you if you let me
but I can’t break free at all.

It’s a heartbreak…

I don’t care if we don’t sleep at all tonight
Let’s just fix this whole thing now
I swear to God we’re gonna get it right
If you put your weapon down
Red wine (?) is in the air
You’re talking shit again, it’s heartbreak warfare
Good to know it’s all a game
Disappointment has a name, it’s heartbreak warfare.

The new CD should be interesting….

 
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Posted by on April 7, 2009 in John Mayer

 

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John Mayer Hearts Ray LaMontagne

Well, whaddaya know….ole Johnny Boy himself has “discovered” Ray LaMontagne.  And I quote:

Ray LaMontagne is as brilliant as any artist that has ever lived.
And he’s getting better; tighter, more focused, more self-assured.

That’s pretty high praise coming from the Music Messiah.  Actually, Ray opened for him at The Fillmore in 2005, so John has known of Ray for a while now.  But just recently, John decided to blog about Ray L. recently and tried to explain Ray’s “essence” by creating an iTune’s iMix to showcase Ray’s obvious talent and compel others to get “caught up” on Ray.  With baited breath, I clicked into iTunes to check out what Ray song’s that JOHN MAYER thought captured Ray.

When you click here, you will see that John lists three songs (although he mentions six in the narrative) that he feels define who Ray LaMontagne is, musicwise.  If you’re too lazy to click, here they are:

  Trouble

  Jolene

  Shelter

Wow, JM, you really dug deep for those.  Aren’t these all ones that have been on TV or in the movies?  While I give John props for the iMix thing, I don’t think those three songs capture the multi-facetedness of Ray LaMontagne.  While I think that visuals like YouTube vids give a better glimpse of the complexities of RL, I am intrigued by the whole iMix thing and thought that it would be fun to create a Ray LaMontagne MusicMaven iMix that I think better captures the essence, range and profound talent of this prolific artist.

 MusicMaven’s Essence of Ray iMix

Problem with iTunes, however, is that it’s not definitive.  YouTube is much more broad in terms of available performances.  Like, how can you explain the essence of Ray without these:

  Crazy

  To Love Somebody  (with Damien Rice)

  Crazy Dreamers

And, there are so many more…

I do agree with John, however, that Ray is really starting to come into his own.  His latest CD, Gossip in the Grain, is markedly more upbeat than Trouble, and ‘Til the Sun Turns Black.  However, in Ray’s initial, self-produced CD, One Lonesome Saddle, includes some really good stuff, with a spectacular old-time religion track of Shuckin’ the Corn, he shows that even when he first started out, he had diversity in his music and passion in his heart.

IvoryHut had a good piece on Gossip in the Grain a while back that includes the entire track listing, etc.  I have to say that my favorite track from the new CD is You Are the Best Thing:

Absolutely marvelous.  Movin’, groovin’, and definitely NOT Country, Ivory.  Ray’s music covers so many genres, that he’s hard to “label”.  However, give it a shot.  Give me a genre label for Ray’s music…like “Diversified Soul” or “Angst Funk”.

 
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Posted by on November 1, 2008 in ipod, iTunes, John Mayer, ray lamontagne

 

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John Mayer Shows Us Exactly “Where the Light Is”

On July 1st, John Mayer released his extended play CD and DVD, Where the Light Is. Basically, this high-quality DVD was a recording of Mayer’s December 8th, 2007 concert at the Nokia Theatre in Los Angeles.

Now, being the Mayer lovah that I am, I downloaded the movie on iTunes and I must say, I LOVE IT. For the life of me, I can’t understand why every artist doesn’t produce a live video of a concert like this.

Johnny Boy starts off with an acoustic set that is simply brilliant in its simplicity. Perhaps my favorite of this set (and any other) is Stop This Train: I really dig the added whistling, as well.

Stop This Train

I really identify with this song. The lyrics really touch on the progression of life and the realization of aging parents and that we are ever closer to there being no buffer between us and death. He touches on that every once in a while you’re all together and everyone is there and it’s all just perfect and you just want to stop time and have it last just a while longer. But, time stops for no-one. Mayer captures it beautifully and runs the gamut of emotion from fear to happiness to contentment.

Another acoustic gem is John’s cover of Tom Petty’s Free Fallin’, when he’s joined by guitarists David Ryan Harris and Robbie McIntosh of The Pretenders, who also has served as a session musician for Sir Paul McCartney. It is fantastic…

Free Fallin”

The cinematography in this film is awesome. There are many great angles including those from in amongst the crowd. This movie really gives you the feel of a concert without the hassle of getting good tickets, parking, fighting the crowds and bad sound. While I try to make several concerts a year, I just can’t make all the ones I’d like to, but putting up $12.99 for a kick ass, high quality, extended set concert that I can watch on my HDTV? Done. I would like to see other artists begin to produce concert movies like CDs, particularly when the concert is as good as this one.

After the acoustic set, John brings on Steve Jordan and Pino Palladino, who are part of the John Mayer Trio to go down and dirty blues and jazz.

Who Did You Think I Was?

He also performs the great Hendrix anthem Bold as Love with the trio with a very heartfelt introduction, as well as some pretty frank dialogue in the middle about living his life and love — that “gotcha back kind of love”

Bold As Love

Lastly, Mayer brings his entire band on to complete the concert with many hits from Continuum and otherwise. Perhaps my favorite is the I’ve Got Dreams to Remember intro into Gravity:

The film/concert is a little over 2.5 hours and is definitely a keeper. Mayer shows his depth of talent and his obvious intelligence and sincerity in his music. To me, Mayer’s viability as a contemporary artist is directly correlated with his ability to evolve and expand his music into various genres and styles and to be “all about the music”.

The CD/DVD live concert release will be a nice tune up to his upcoming CD of new material, which will include All We Ever Do Is Say Goodbye. Here is a short sample:

If you’re looking to attend a great concert (over and over again), I strongly recommend purchasing the movie, Where The Light Is. Once again, Johnny Boy does not disappoint.

The “Where The Light Is” tracklisting is as follows:

Acoustic Set:
1. Neon
2. Stop This Train
3. In Your Atmosphere (L.A. Song)
4. Daughters
5. Free Fallin’

Trio Set:
6. Everyday I Have The Blues
7. Wait Until Tomorrow
8. Who Did You Think I Was
9. Come When I Call
10. Good Love Is On The Way
11. Out Of My Mind
12. Vultures
13. Bold As Love

Band Set:
14. Waiting On The World To Change
15. Slow Dancing In A Burning Room
16. Why Georgia
17. The Heart Of Life
18. I Don’t Need No Doctor
19. Gravity
20. I Don’t Trust Myself (With Loving You)
21. Belief
22. I’m Gonna Find Another You

 

Have I Mentioned That I Love John Mayer?

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Cajun Boy in the City had the most fabulous picture of John Mayer cruising.

Now, that’s what I call manly.

Your Body is a Wonderland
 
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Posted by on February 12, 2008 in John Mayer

 

More Mayer Goodness

jm

 

Using my ultra-effective interwebs Google-Fu skillz, I located a few more Mayerlicious You Tubes that illustrate Johnny Boy’s humor and talent. 

Happy Weekend.  Enjoy!

  Chocolate Rain

The FIRST John Mayer show (on VH1):

Seriously.  I lerve this guy’s humor.  But, do you think that people, as a whole, will “get” Mayer?

  Ellen interview

  Showing emotional depth regarding the writing of “Say” for The Bucket List

  Demonstrating his musical prowess via I’m Gonna Find Another You

  Respecktin’ his elders — B.B. King

 
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Posted by on January 23, 2009 in John Mayer

 

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Brandi on Mayercraft

Oh yeah, I forgot to mention Brandi’s most righteous cellist, Josh Neuman.  You can check out Josh in my Flickr photos.

<————-

If it wasn’t enough that I absolutely love Brandi’s voice and musical style AND that she’s a disciple of Ray LaMontagne, all my musical worlds collided when I discovered that Brandi recently participated in Mayercraft, John Mayer’s musical cruise.  Some of you will recall JM’s lovely “suit”

Here is Brandi and Josh doing a lovely, late night rendition of Don’t Think Twice, It’s Alright:

Man, I love that…It’s amazing how she can make music with just a guitar or with a full band.

And how about this little diddy from the Lido deck:

  The Weight

And you got to love a Freddy Mercury sing along:

  Bohemian Rhapsody and Love Songs

If the fates weren’t strange enough, also performing at Mayercraft was new sensation, Colbie Caillat.  Here’s a little Bubbly from Colbie on the cruise:

and surprised by The Man hisself, with a little guitar accompniment on Battle:

Of course, it’s apparent that a good time was had by all.  I would have loved to have been up on deck in the hot sun, sipping a Pina Colada and being seranaded by one John Mayer.  Belief IS a beautiful armor.

 

Johnny, We Hardly Knew Ye…

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John Mayer’s latest blog is titled “Pop Rocks” and extols how there is some really good Pop music out there. Now, I know not all Pop music is bad, but the ones he’s listed has got me questioning John’s “tool” factor. I understand John’s need to conform to the industry early on in his career so that he could get a foothold into the industry — which he did.

I admired his dedication to becoming a top notch guitarist with a blues funk, reeling in friends like B.B. King and Eric Clapton. I thought Continuum was a brilliant piece of work that truly showed his range and talent and didn’t compromise in trying to throw out the sappy bubblegum that Pop fans are doled on a daily basis from terrestrial radio.

Then the list. I have to scratch my head as the guy who paints himself as the music biz rebel, obviously is throwing a bone to the record companies in endorsing these (with the exception of Sara Bareilles, where he evidently made an indie stand). You tell me:

1. Misery Business and When it Rains by Paramore

While a cheap Joan Jett imitation…makes me yawn.

When it Rains is a bit more compelling but I prefer Sara or FEIST!

2. Lovestoned/I Think She Knows – Justin Timberlake

Seriously? What a poser. He is the 21st Century Vanilla Ice. Is Mayer trying to be sarcastic? God, I hope so.

3. Tattoo – Jordin Sparks

This has to be an obvious payback to the record label gods. Can you listen to Mary J. Blige and Beyonce’ and really feel awed by Jordin? She’s not terrible by any means but there’s hundreds of Jordins and those kind of songs out there…cookie cutter.

4. Love Song – Sara Bareilles

Mayer picks the “poppiest” of Sara’s repetoire, when Gravity is clearly superior and shows Sara’s obvious talent. This is the only one I agree with, however for this kind of sound, I’d have chosen Bubbly by Colbie Caillat.

…..and the piece de resistance….

5. Over You – Daughtry

And, exactly how do Daughtry and John Mayer even fit in the same sentence? Has Mayer started wearing a wallet chain?

For good measure JM throws in his new BFF, Alicia Keys with Like You’ll Never See Me Again. Oh, the drama. While the girl has pipes, this certainly doesn’t show off her talent. Again, **yawn**.

I just don’t get it….other than this is John’s professional butt-kissing to take some chances on his next CD. Sort of an ace up his sleeve. It’s quite interesting that all of these artists, except for Paramore are signed to a Sony-BMG label, which just happens to be John Mayer’s label.

Jus’ sayin’.

That’s the only way I can rationalize the guy’s choices of “good” Pop music noted here. His own new song, Say (see Mayer’s November 16th blog for a preview), is really quite good and perhaps he’s trying to SAY something?

Take out of your wasted honor
Every little best frustration
Take out all your so called problems
Better put them in quotations
Say what you need to say (8x)

Walkin like a one man army
Fightin with the shadows in your head
Living out the same old moment
Knowing you’d be better off instead
If you could only
Say what you need to say (8x)
[Say lyrics on http://www.metrolyrics.com%5D

Have no fear for giving in
Have no fear for getting older
You better know that in the end its better to say to much
Than to never to say what you need to say again

Even if your hands are shaking
And your faith is broken
Even as the eyes are closing
Do it with a heart wide open
Why?
Say what you need to say (20ishx)

 
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Posted by on November 21, 2007 in John Mayer, music biz, Music Today

 

When Harry Met Sally….Jack & Diane

Pick your clever song or film reference for the new celebrity romance of MEG RYAN and JOHN “COUGAR” MELLENCAMP?!?!?!

"...two American kids doin' the best they can"

I did not see that one coming.  

For me, this is right up there on the level of

Eddie Van Halen & Valerie Bertinelli

Gwyneth Paltrow & Chris Martin

Jennifer Anniston & John Mayer

Heather Locklear & Tommy Lee

Julia Roberts & Lyle Lovett

I really don’t “get” these romances.  Are they real?  How do they meet?  How do they all fit in one bed?  I mean, a man, a woman and two HUGE egos can get crowded.

Anyway, back to the celebromance du jour.  I know that I am a cynic, but I have always thought that Meg Ryan is not the apple pie, sweet girl next door that she plays in every movie she’s been in.  Besides, I LOVE Dennis Quaid and I think there was more to that story than we were privy to.  (Can you say Russell Crowe?) 

And, John Mellencamp?  Well, while his music brings back great high school memories, I always thought he was a bit of a tool when he feigned selective amensia regarding the toolish “Cougar” adjective that he threw around in the 70s and 80s and the way he’s tried to be the Midwestern Bruce Springsteen.

 

The Original Guitar Hero

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Les Paul, 1915 - 2009

A real revoluntionary of the music business is gone.

Les Paul, inventor of the electric, amplified guitar and picker extraordinnaire passed away today from complications of pneumonia at the age of 94.  Born in 1915 with a love of music, Les Paul began playing harmonica and guitar on the street, while still in his childhood.  When a listener critiqued the volume of his guitar playing, Les was determined to find a way to increase the sound.  While gainfully employed as a musician throughout his teens and early adulthood, Les continued to tinker until he created “The Log” — a 4″ X 4″ with amplified strings with a guitar body attached for asthetics.  

As early as 1939, Les Paul brought his “invention” to Gibson Guitar company where he was summarily laughed off the property.  However, they eventually worked with Paul to create the legendary solid-body design that caries his signature and name.  Probably one of the most famous Les Paul models is “Lucille”, B.B. King’s infamous instrument.

bb king lucille 

Generations of guitarists have chosen the signature Les Paul Gibson as their axe of choice, including guitar greats Eric Clapton, Jimi Hendrix, Elvis Presley, Keith Richards, Pete Townsend, Jeff Beck, Jimmy Page, John Mayer, Mark Knopfler and Les Paul’s close buddy, the late, great Chet Atkins.  Chet’s half-brother, Jim, was a member of the Les Paul Trio, who famously played throughout the 50s and 60s.  Both Les and Chet have been major influences in the evolution of the guitar as a forefront instrument.  They were good friends with a strong, mutual respect for each other.

  The Birth of the Blues, Les Paul & Chet Atkins

Amazingly, Les Paul could not read music.  However, his superb ear and creativity provided ingenuity in playing that basically made the guitar speak.  He brought personality to guitar.  He also brought it to the recording studio.  Using his wife, Mary Ford’s pure voice, Les Paul began over-dubbing and multi-track recording, revolutionizing how recordings were made and producing rich sound that resonates deeply within.

There are so many facets to Les Paul and the genius of his 94 years.  I strongly encourage you to look him up on YouTube and Google and watch the documentaries and performances about this icon who literally changed the face of modern music. 

Perhaps Guitar Hero will add a Les Paul version to honor the Original Guitar Hero.  (They may need to add a looping accessory….)

 

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The Trust is Broken

1916 - 2009

1916 - 2009

This is the face I saw every day, growing up.  Next to my father, Walter Cronkite, was the most prevalent male role model in my life for the first 14 or 15 years.  Every night at 5:30pm, Walt would deliver the news while my Mother was cooking dinner.  Most nights, my much older brother and sister were off somewhere doing their teenager thing, leaving my Dad and I to take in the world happenings of the day.  My father was not an extremely demanding parent, but he did encourage us to read the newspaper and to watch the evening news so that we understood the issues of our time.  It’s something that has proven to be invaluable in work and life, in general.

I’m not sure why, but our daily newspaper always came in the afternoon.  My father usually picked up the paper when he returned from work, precisely at 5:05 pm (his nursery business was around the corner).  Then, he went straight to the den, kicked off his shoes, put his feet up on the stool, and cracked open the newspaper.  I’d enter after finishing homework, turn on the enormous RCA console TV and flip the big manual knob to Channel 10, which was CBS in our town, to catch the sports and weather from the local news.  You see, I was the remote control to switch between the four channels we had access to.  I had just the right wrist action to fly between 10 and 3, around to 7 with a short stop at 15.  It took a special talent and an understanding of the optimum UHF antenna position, but after years of practice I had it down pat.

At promptly 5:30 pm, the reliable and familiar “Good Evening” from the most trusted man in America.  He then would dispense whatever vile and unconscienable acts mankind was committing on each other that day.  While I know that every generation has absorbed “news” that is astonishing and unbelievable, growing up in the late ’60s and ’70s was an endless diet of war, pestilence and death.  I’m talking assassinations, riots, protests, war fronts, burning bodies, cracked heads, hateful words, corruption, lies, murder, and general mayhem.  In short, it was NOT the best of times.

But, there were also fantastic, new “discoveries”….the space program, microwaves, trans-atlantic Concorde flights, The Beatles, cassette tapes, and unleaded gas.  Both good and bad, Walter Cronkite brought it all to us, with integrity, honesty and wit.

Unlike the biased and entertainment focused news from the likes of Katie, Brian, and assorted cable “anchors”, Cronkite’s news was gospel.  And, while there may have been some manipulation of the news, most journalists were searching for the “story”, to right wrongs, to change the world.  It was a serious time for serious news and Mr. Cronkite let us know the happenings of the day with appropriate seriousness.  While I don’t long for the crazy, volatile times of those days, I do long for the time when there was at least a perception of truth and trust in the news of today.  In Cronkite’s passing, perhaps today’s media will undertake a little introspection into just how shallow and superficial their news has become.  In the 24/7, sensational reality news of the new millenium, “news” people have lost the ideals of true journalism that Cronkite so aptly displayed in his tenure over some of America’s darkest days.  It is a credit to Cronkite’s integrity that no-one really knew, until well after his retirement, that he was a Democrat.  It was a testament to his objectivity and commitment to impartiality.  With all of the accolades sure to follow his passing, those delivering the news would be wise to follow more of his example. 

When CBS forced Cronkite into retirement in 1981 to replace him with a younger, shinier Dan Rather, it subsequently sold its soul and eventually lost its hold on night time news.  Rather’s obvious left bias would be his undoing, leaving him woefully short of Cronkite’s legacy and class.

As a child of the ’70s, I tip my proverbial hat to Walter Cronkite on a career and life well lived.  Perhaps the most appropriate homage to the end of Uncle Walt’s personal broadcast are his own iconic words:

And, that’s the way it is….July 18th, 2009

Musically, the one song that kept coming to my mind is John Mayer’s Waiting on the World to Change…

…when they own the information, oh, they can bend it all they want…..

 
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Posted by on July 19, 2009 in John Mayer, memorials, the seventies, TV

 

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