An album you can sit back and sip a little whiskey to.
Paradise Valley, the sixth full length of John Mayer's career is the work of somebody who has proven a certain amount of acumen and ability, and seems tired with needing to be what everyone thinks he needs to be, he just is, and now it seems that Mayer is a little bit country and a little bit rock'n'roll. This time, Mayer asks you to sit back, erase your mind, and let you and you're glass of red wine breath. This is a time for redemption.
This record- Paradise Valley with its rootsy undertones and Frank Ocean subtle duet, is still distinctly John Mayer but with an underlying sense of growth. He's given up the bravado of the pop star that he felt he needed to be, given up the need to prove himself in the industry, which may be because he has reached a certain level of success that allows him this freedom, but also perhaps because of the onslaught of negative press he has gotten over the past few years for, well, for just being himself. Known more in the press for the slew of celebrity women he has bedded and the confusingly dickish interviews with magazines like Rolling Stone where he called former fling Jessica Simpson "Sexual Napalm" then for his music, Mayer needed to take a break from life for a while. So when a serious vocal chord injury hit him last year, and not only threatened his career but had him not singing and not speaking for over 6 months - a significant stretch of time for the outspoken 7 time grammy award winning singer, Mayer was forced out of the limelight and onto a ranch in Montana for a self-conscripted year of solitude and reflection. A remedy that proved to be just the medicine John Mayer needed for John Mayer.
This newest release is a testament to not only his virtuosic chops but his own music as well. Recorded live on the studio floor, this album belies a sense of maturity, and soul that we haven't heard before. Maybe it's because unlike his overly antiseptic previous releases this time his music is much more organic or as he calls it "warts and all". He recently sat down with CBC's Gian Gomeshi for his radio program Q (which if you haven't yet had the pleasure to hear is a Canadian Radio golden-child and rather sexy if I do say so myself) and gave a great interview about the album (stream here). Gomeshi is known for pushing his interviewees to be brutally honest with him, without ever pushing them too far. He displays incredible journalistic integrity and is never too fan-girly, even when he is a fan, which he clearly is of Mayer in this interview. Take a listen to the podcast below (go to about 20 minutes in to hear the interview with Mayer) where they touch on topics from the culture of outrage all the way to the mistakes he made on the mixing room floor.
Below I've attached the album available for streaming on Youtube right now. My favourite track is I Will Be Found (starts at 24:22) which is the first piano heavy track that Mayer has recorded on any record. If you're looking for more traditional Mayer crooning look to Wildfire (first track) or You're no one to someone let you down (starts at 29:51).
We are a Calgary based music blog that focuses on bringing you the greatest and latest in good music. Run by three effervescent ladies, we post what we like and hope you like it too! Live, love, laugh, and listen to some good tunes while you're at it. Want to hear a tune? Send us a message - we love hearing your sweet honey voices in our inboxes! If you want to tell us about your relationship with Ladywood fill out our Reader's Poll here.