John Mayer, the precursor of “pop-blues”

Born in Connecticut, precisely in Bridgeport, John Mayer is extremely famous all over the world for his catchy songs, often romantic, often funky and danceable. From a young age he always listened and loved blues guitarists, making Jimi Hendrix, Eric Clapton and Stevie Ray Vaughan his immovable idols. Practising and playing he created his characteristic and personal touch on the guitar, which is the perfect union between the harshness typical of blues and the soulful melodies of pop. So, has he always been able to make agree listeners of such different genres? Unfortunately not, because various times, especially avid lovers of blues’ culture and guitar, labeled him as unable and too little technical to play this genre. His “poppy” lyrics seemed sometimes too mawkish to these people, but his seven grammy awards definitely talk for him. “Room for squares”, his debut album, in 2001 created surprise and also sense of confusion between every listeners, who had slightly never heard a solo artist combining armonious and catchy riffs with great lyrics and also amazing guitar solos. But his complete masterpiece figured out in 2006: in “Continuum” are contained some of his greatest songs, starting with “Waiting on the world to change”, which demonstrates also a progress with more complicated and politically interested lyrics, “gravity”, and his probably most famous song “slow dancing in a burning room”, that inspired a lot of younger beginner guitarists to practise and recreating soulful melodies like that: the influence that John has on modern music is evident. During lives has always been able to involve the audience to sing after him and create an incredible atmosphere and connection, with music at the same level of the studio versions, also better. That’s why people love him from the beginning, and not only average people, but especially guitarists that always praised him for his technical and sentimental style of playing. The same Eric Clapton once said: “He’s extremely gifted. His facility is phenomenal. He’s a master, I don’t think he even knows how good he is”. His continuity, determination and ability of create something completely original every time made his dreams come true, at the point of playing with Clapton live: that’s the lesson that everyone could learn from him.

Osmida De Giorgio, 3BCL