SUNDAY CLASSIC GTC REVIEW: JOHN MAYER – Paradise Valley
By Alle Royale
There are American artists, huge stars in the States, that, no matter what, seem like they are never going to appeal to the Europeans; the first example coming to mind is Dave Matthews, the second one is John Mayer. The young guitar slinger, pop chansonnier, Grammy winner, gossip columns favorite, one night could share the stage with B.B. King and the next one with The Rolling Stones, one day he could top the singles chart and another he could trade some jazz-rock licks with fusion guitar pioneer John Scofield.
In spite of all this, and a bunch of pretty good albums, Europe is still tepid about him, and I don’t think that “Paradise Valley” is going to change his sorts. Not that this should bother John too much; I mean, his touch on the guitar has been praised by Mr. Slowhand himself, Eric Clapton, his voice is the whisper of the angels and his good looks assure him to have enough of a female fan base to fill arenas through the entire USA. Admired by artists and women, a win-win situation to which, as a cool bonus, we can add a girlfriend named Katy Perry, who even sings with him the romantic “Who You Love”, an up-to-date duet in the Johnny Cash-June Carter tradition.
“Paradise Valley” is a consistent effort, balanced between the previous “Born & Raised”, a wonderfully country blues affair, his most mature work to date, and the refined pop skills that gained him both critical and public successes in abundance.
His instrumental performance is outstanding, tasteful, and well-measured, constantly underlining the vocal phrasing and twinkling like a star shower on our senses; it’s an understated musical universe, and is no coincidence that he decided to tribute JJ Cale, the king of understatement, recently passed away, with an affectionate cover of the classic “Call Me The Breeze”.
John Mayer’s musical journey has temporarily reached a quiet, green valley of excellence, where he wanders like a modern-day troubadour and the wind softly blows through the strings of his acoustic guitar; we still don’t know where his path is leading him, but the day even the Europeans are going to notice him massively, it seems no longer a distant fantasy.
JOHN MAYER – Paradise Valley
Artist photo by Sam Jones
John Mayer – Producer, composer, stringed neck instrument
Don Was, Producer
Bob Ludwig, Mastering
Video, directed by Sophie Muller
Feat. Katy Perry
My girl, she ain’t the one that I saw coming
And sometimes I don’t know which way to go
And I tried to run before
But I’m not running anymore
Cause I’ve fought against it hard enough to know…