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Category Archives: John Mayer

Lovin’ JM

Mayerliciousness

Mayerliciousness

My Mayer love is well documented.  If you search the John Mayer tag on this blog, you’ll find many a tidbit concerning the young guitar hero.  I’m really not fangirly over Mayer…I mean he’s cute and all, has a wicked sense of humor, and lives the most enviable life, but more and more I gravitate to JM for the music.

I still find myself migrating  back to Continuum tracks when I’m surfing my iPod on plane trips.  Good music does that.  It beckons listeners back to visit and enjoy.  Now, I know that there are MANY Mayer haters out there (several have visited this blog), that think Mayer is a sell-out and even go so far as to call him “untalented”.  Sorry, but I can’t go there with you.  Mayer’s guitar prowess, alone, commands respect of the music appreciater.  Whether you like the dude or not, his talent is proven.

Besides, he is not in the generic mold of the current day Pop Star.  From his famously big mouth (sardonic & sarcastic) to his unconventional “style” (arm sleeve tattoos and ever-changing hair style), John Mayer is a non-conformist.  Mayer has been able to expand and explore other genres, despite his label trying to keep him constrained to high-selling “pop”.  He can do this because his audience accepts it and even demands it, giving him the leverage to basically do what he wants.  That’s how big talents roll. 

Ray Charles didn’t stay confined to blues and R&B.  He ventured deep into Country, traditional Adult Contemporary, and even a little Rock & Roll.  He did so and was readily accepted because the audience loved and appreciated his TALENT.  I see John Mayer in the same way.  And, before you submit some snarky comment….NO, I’m not saying that John Mayer is on par with Ray Charles.  At least, not yet.  However, he has proven his music ability which has given him the leverage to expand his horizons and that IS in the same vein as the great RC.

Perfect example is Mayer’s alter ego, The John Mayer Trio and their foray into heavy blues, jazz, and “standards”.  I was so pleasantly surprised to find this gem from Mayer’s traditional Thanksgiving night visit to David Letterman.  Normally, I would balk on a “pretender” trying to cover Sinatra on one of my favorite Sinatra tunes, but Mayer takes it and makes it his own, without bastardizing or dramatically retarding the song and its wonderful essence.

Bravo.

  Wee Small Hours of the Morning

 

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Every Day I Have the Blues…The Progression

Yep.  Every day. 

every_day_i_have_the_blues

  Originally recorded by Memphis Slim, 1948

  Elmore James

  Professor Longhair

  B.B. King

  T-Bone Walker & Chuck Berry

  Buddy Guy

  Eric Clapton

  John Mayer

 

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Music Maven’s Grammy Rundown

grammy1

Admittedly, The Grammys do not thrill me.  Unfortunately, moguls like Clive Davis’ seeming influence into the awards over the last few years leaves me very skeptical as to the nominations and the winners.

I mean, WHERE is Amos Lee?  Ray LaMontagne? 

However, in the spirit of Music comraderie, I made my own Grammy picks.  Personally, I think that they could cut out 2/3 of the categories and cut this puppy down to a half-hour show….but, whatever.  Here are the 2009 Music Maven Grammy picks.

Record of the year

  Please Read the Letter, Alison Krauss & Robert Plant

Mainly because Coldplay’s Viva La Vida is so over-played.

Album of the Year

Because of their revolutionary, “name your price” sales strategy….

  In Rainbows, Radiohead — Videotape track

Song of the Year

Only one choice for me…loved her from the start.  Remember, she debuted her 12-song DC (rather than CD) for $6.99 on iTunes.

  Love Song, Sara Bareilles

Best New Artist

For her ’60s vibe….

  Mercy, Duffy

If Katy Perry’s I Kissed a Girl wins anythings, I will never turn on a radio again.

In the Best Male Pop Vocal Performance category, I’m seriously torn between James Taylor’s Witchita Lineman and John Mayer’s thoroughly emotional Say, from The Bucket List.   However, I’m going to have to go with Sweet Baby James on this one.  The Glen Campbell kun-NECK-shun is just too strong.  The best song lyric of all time:

…and I want you more than need you, and I want you for all time.

‘Nuff said.

  Witchita Lineman, James Taylor

(Besides, Say wins a MM Grammy in another category — see below.)

Which, given the choices, leads me to Best Pop Album — JT’s Covers.  I was convinced by Seminole Wind and Not Fade Away.

I was intrigued by the nominations within the Best Solo Rock Vocal Performance (who comes up with these categories?) pitting Sir Paul McCartney’s Amoeba Record performance I Saw Her Standing There against John Mayer’s Gravity performance from Where the Light Is.  While I have great affinity for McCartney, the Where the Light Is video is superb and Gravity is one of my all-time favorite songs.  Therefore, the award goes to….

  Gravity, John Mayer

The only performance in the R&B categories that I feel is worry of any award is Wayne Brady’s Change is Gonna Come.  Yes, Wayne Brady of Who’s Line is it, Anyway? fame.

  A Change Gonna Come, Wayne Brady

However, I’d like to see Jennifer Hudson win a Grammy, just because she is that good and she deserves it.  Note:  she is the only American Idol alum nominated this year.

In the Country categories, only two nominations piqued my interest.  Brad Paisley’s nomination for Letter to Me in the Best Country Song category and The Del McCoury Band’s nomination for Best Bluegrass AlbumLive at the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival.  Love me some Del…

  Nashville Cats, Del McCoury Band

John Mayer’s Say is a lock for the Best Song Written for a Motion Picture.  I love this song, music & lyrics.

  Say, from The Bucket List, John Mayer

Miscellaneous Other favorites:

Best Traditional Gospel Album, Down in New Orleans, The Blind Boys of Alabama

Best Traditional Blues Album, Pinetop Perkins & Friends, 95 year old Pinetop Perkins, with a line-up of Blues royalty.

Best Contemporary Blues Album — THREE New Orleans acts; Dr. John, Irma Thomas and Marcia Ball.  Can they simply split a Grammy?

And, finally the BIG category….Best Zydeco or Cajun Album….drum roll please……

Music Maven picks……

  Steve Riley & The Mamou Playboys

 

 

 

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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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Variety is the Spice of Life

A couple of years ago when my buddies, Huck and Shrew, separately suggested that Taylor Hicks would be best served in a variety-type TV show, I was somewhat skeptical. 

Really?  Like the entertainment pablum of my ’60s & ’70s youth?  Could our cynical and jaded society grasp and actually appreciate this vintage concept, complete with special guest stars, comical skits and of course, musical performances?  I mean, would these really go over with folks today?

  Donny & Marie, with guest Milton Berle

  Sonny & Cher Show, VAMP

  Flip Wilson, with guest Muhammad Ali

  Tony Orlando & Dawn

However, after contemplating a bit, I remembered that while those good, old variety hour programs provided slapstick humor and comedic skits, there were also ALOT of great musical performances — like these little gems I came across:

  Blowin’ in the Wind, Glen Campbell with special guest, Stevie Wonder

  They Call the Wind Mariah, The Smothers Brothers

Then, as if to confirm my suspicions that today’s sophisticated TV viewer has no appetite for good, old variety fare, Rosie O’Donnell’s attempt at variety show resurrection lasted all of 42 seconds. 

So, imagine my surprise this morning when I see that one of my favorite artists of today, the one and only, Johnny Boy Mayer will have his own variety show on CBS.

Is this guy great, or what?!?

Is this guy great, or what?!?

As visionary as I might be on other topics, I just didn’t see this one coming.  However, I truly believe that he will be a hit and put Rosie to shame.  As it should be…

ROCK ON, JOHN!

John’s got a bit of previous experience, compliments of Dave Chappelle.  In, White People Dancing he shows that he can play a great straight man.  Can’t wait to see who his special guests will be….

B.B. King?

Eric Clapton?

Buddy Guy?

 
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Posted by on January 15, 2009 in John Mayer, TV

 

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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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Media Hysteria

While it was nice having electricity and air conditioning, I couldn’t help but thinking on Monday that we might have been better off without all of the crazy media hysteria concerning Hurricane Gustav and the dastardly cesspool media of the internet throwing a 17 year old girl under the bus.

I was so incensed with Shepard Smith’s scandalous behavior in the French Quarter that I actually emailed him at Fox.  I have yet to hear about my email of protest:

Mr. Smith,

I find it appalling and a slap in the face to all Louisianaians to appear on national TV from the French Quarter broadcasting about the danger to residents, etc., adorned in an OLE MISS HAT.  Sir, you should be ashamed.

As if this wasn’t enough, Geraldo Riveria was desparately seeking drama, going batshit crazy about a man “stranded in the water”.  After a few anxious seconds, he realizes that the dude was actually on a life line, in a life jacket and trying to secure a propane tank that had come loose from high water.

See both atrocities here, for yourself:

Throughout the day, family in Louisiana and family staying here with us, all laughed about the “drama” unfolding and how the media was trying so hard to “make” a story.  Billboards were obliterated (paper flying in the wind), mass flooding had begun (a storm drain was clogged), dangerous debris was littering the roadways (two leaves in the middle of the street were shown — I am not kidding), and Jim Cantore from the Weather Channel basically cried on TV because some fishermen were electing to ride out the storm on their boat — a 42′ foot boat build for survival in high seas and tethered in port.

EVERYTHING in the media is so overblown, so taken out of context and so exploitive.  While these storms ARE killers and ARE bad and ARE destructive, the media tries to sensationalize and dramatize every single drop they can, to garner your undivided attention for as long as they possibly can.

Just remember, people, when you are watching this….temper it down about 70%.  I think the media, as a whole, is totally irresponsible.  It reminds me of Pravda in the now-defunct Soviet Union, except that the messages are controlled by capitalists who are bent on trying to sensationalize the news to scare and intimidate you.  The news media has created a generation of cynical and jaded adults who basically have no hope.  Everything is dire and drastic.  And they wonder why their ratings have plummeted and people run for the stupidity of reality shows.

I always loved the line in John Mayer’s song Waiting on the World to Change:

When you trust your television, what you get is what you got….when they own the information, well, they can bend it all they want. 

And, bend they do.  When blogging first came into being, it was a refreshing honest assessment of issues and feelings by responsible people.  Now, as I’ve seen over the last two years, people and organizations use blogs to manipulate messages, smear people from all walks of life and generally try to make untruths reality.  What happened to obeying the commandment against “bearing false witness”.  Oh, I forgot, religon has no place in the public discourse.

Well, I may be on a soapbox today, but belief is a beautiful armor…as the song goes.  It’s time for people everywhere to realize that there are radical beliefs on all sides of every issue, but most reasonable people (I like to think that’s 80% of the population) are somewhere in the middle.  I urge people to consider that there is no equivocally “right” answer.  The best progress to solving problems comes when good people compromise for the good of the whole.  It’s time for this country to hold the irresponsible main media and “blogging media” accountable for inappropriately using their “voice” to create fury and maelstorm to get your eyes on their channel to sell advertising.  That’s right folks, it all comes down to money.

  Belief, John Mayer

Is there anyone who ever remembers
changing their mind from the paint on a sign?,
is there anyone who really recalls
ever breaking rank at all
for something someone yelled real loud one time?
oh, everyone believes
in how they think it oughta be
oh, everyone believes
and they’re not going easily

belief is a beautiful armor
but makes for the heaviest sword
like punching underwater
you never can hit who you’re trying for
some lead the exhibition
and some have to know they tried
it’s the chemical weapon
for the war that’s raging on inside
oh, everyone believes
from emptiness to everything
oh, everyone believes
and no one’s going quietly

we’re never gonna win the world
we’re never gonna stop the war
we’re never gonna beat this
if belief is what we’re fighting for

we’re never gonna win the world
we’re never gonna stop the war
we’re never gonna beat this
if belief is what we’re fighting for

is there anyone you can remember
ever surrender with their life on the line?

we’re never gonna win the world
we’re never gonna stop the war
we’re never gonna beat this
if belief is what we’re fighting for

we’re never gonna win the world
we’re never gonna stop the war
we’re never gonna beat this
if belief is what we’re fighting for

what puts a hundred thousand children in the sand?
belief can, belief can
what puts a folded flag inside his mother’s hand?
belief can, belief can

 
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Posted by on September 3, 2008 in hurricane, John Mayer, Louisiana

 

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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

 

Fathers

It’s not particularly easy to write about Father’s Day as this year is truly our first “fatherless” Father’s Day. Having lost Mr. D’s Dad back in late January, there are no cards to buy nor phone calls to make to express appreciation for all of the love and patience over the years.

When my own father passed away in the fall of 2005, I shed very few tears. Perhaps it was the detachment of making all of the arrangements, assisting my mother through her own grief, or a disbelief that he was really gone, but I remember feeling very strange about my outward lack of emotion.

However, just over two years later at my father-in-law’s services I was near inconsolable. I’m not a very demonstrative person emotionally, so I think my visible sadness was a little concerning to my husband’s family. While I was sad for my husband and his loss, I think the grief I was expressing was more for my own father and my own loss that I was finally able to “see” and feel only after time had passed.

So, lately, I’ve been reflecting on my father and his impact on me and my family. First, this is/was my Daddy…

For me, this picture epitomizes my father. From the cynical smirk on his face, to the ever-present cigar, the camera in his pocket and surrounded by the plants that defined his life. A horticulturist for nearly 60 years, he saw beauty in plants and flowers and loved growing and propagating all types of flora.

My Daddy experienced a significant amount of hurt and disappointment in his life, but he never used it as an excuse for anything. He was highly intelligent and intellectual with a side order of honesty and sincerity. He was a very principled man and he expected no less from his children.

In preparing this post, I scoured my vast library of pictures for a picture of he and I together when I was younger and I could not locate one. He was usually behind the camera and he wasn’t very demonstrative with us when we were growing up. A quiet and private man, he didn’t go in for a lot of hugging and kissing, so we were left to just “know” that he loved us. As an adult, however, he became much more “open”, particularly with his grandkids. In the one picture I could find of he and I together, look who is the center of attention.

He dearly loved his grandchildren and was so proud of each of them. This is one of my favorite pictures. It’s Mini-DD with my Daddy for Easter, when he was two and a half.

The joy on both of their faces is so evident. Also true to my father’s nature was his sense of “habit” and routine. Just about every picture I could find of my father in later years has him wearing this burgundy plantation shirt with all of his “essentials” packed into his breast pocket.

When he died, my mother gave Mini-DD one of my father’s pocket knives. For those who knew him, the significance of those knives is relevant as he was never without one and could always be relied upon to open a box or cut an apple. It is one of his grandson’s prized possessions.

As for his daughter….his youngest child….the girl he called “BooBoo”….I wasn’t left with a prized possession. More importantly, he left me an understanding of living a life of integrity, a love of family and history, and an example of loving a partner until your last breath.

So fathers, be good to your daughters
Daughters will love like you do

Daughters, John Mayer (from Where the Light Is DVD to be released July 1st) — performance at The Nokia, L.A., 12/07.

 
 

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.

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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.