Dischord – John Mayer Trio

Music Reviews John Mayer Trio
Dischord – John Mayer Trio

Got The Blues Bad
By Jeff Leven

It would’ve been really easy for John Mayer to rewrite “Daughters” a few dozen times and complacently ride the gravy train all the way to retirement. Against that backdrop, the work of the John Mayer Trio is a gutsy call. While recording blues-in?ected songs with crack session musicians isn’t exactly career suicide, one suspects mass radio isn’t clamoring for forays into the more sophisticated (read: mediocre-selling) territory of jazz and blues.

So I for one am all for it. In fact, I think if I were in Mayer’s position, designing a signature Stratocaster and engaging in a spirited bit of Stevie Ray Vaughan worship would be just what the doctor ordered. As it turns out, the result is as impressive as the move is courageous. Mayer’s guitar chops are wholly convincing.

While the project bears his name and will undoubtedly be marketed as such, it doesn’t feel like Mayer insisted on keeping his hired guns on a tight leash (I’m looking at you, Clapton). As a genre exercise, it’s more reverent than cynical. In fact, this may well be the album that introduces some casual fans to the wonders of Austin-fried blues, which in and of itself is a karmic good deed that should earn him accolades. Best of all, one gets the sense that fun was had in the process. And you can never fault anyone for that.

Begot Bad Blues
By Noel Murray

John Mayer seems like a decent enough guy. Plays a good guitar. Seems to have good taste, and a good sense of humor. Probably buys fundraising candy from the neighborhood kids. Always makes a point of saying that pop pap like “Your Body Is A Wonderland” merely pays the bills, while rock and blues are where he really lives. And he probably believes his own hype. Why else would he have put out so many live albums this far into his young career, if not to prove that he’s all about the jam, not the bread?

Try! marks the recording debut of Mayer’s new power trio, as well as his umpteenth stab at being taken seriously by the rockerati. Just check out that statement-of-purpose, blowhard first single “Who Did You Think I Was?,” which challenges “Wonderland” fans to taste Mayer’s cold blue steel. Or better yet, don’t check it out, since it sounds like the work of any southern bar band more comfortable opening for Foghat than playing an actual club. Also avoid: the strained, endless rendition of Ray Charles’ “I Got A Woman,” and the (I guess you’d have to call it a) rap that opens Mayer’s newer, spacier version of his ballad “Something’s Missing.” If Mayer really wants to be the new Clapton, he’s going to have to do it with more “Let It Grow”s and fewer “Crossroads.”

Reader’s Poll Results

Got the Blues Bad: 98% Begot Bad Blues: 2%

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