Keeping the blues alive and well

The B.B. King and John Mayer friendship

John Mayer says he’s got the blues

John Mayer is a famous guitar player/singer songwriter but he has one thing that keeps him encapsulated in the art of music: bringing the blues to a bigger audience, just like Clapton. Since his first two albums, John has set his mind on combining the blues with pop music to inspire a new generation to get to know that beautiful piece of music history.

The John Mayer Trio

With the release of Continuum, John Mayer embarked on a jouney he had longed for: making blues rock music and combining it into pop music. The production of this album immediately showed this new path as John began working with Steve Jordan and Pino Palladino, both musical titans in their own rights. The result of this musical collaboration was the birth of the John Mayer Trio.

Everybody who has listened to more songs than ”Daughters” and ”Your Body Is A Wonderland” probably is familiar with the incredible concerts ”Try!-Live In Concert” and ”Where the light is: John Mayer Live In Los Angeles”. In these concerts John Mayer shows his deep love of the blues and artistical skill on the guitar while playing his debut song for The John Mayer Trio: ”Who Did I think I was”. Another heavy blues oriented song in these concerts is the amazing song ”Out of My Mind”. In this song he demonstrates that slow blues can still be performed and loved and that ”All is not lost” as he proclaims in his Live In LA concert.

Crossroad festival

The Crossroads Guitar Festival is a renowned series of music festivals and benefit concerts founded by the legendary guitarist Eric Clapton. These festivals serve as fundraisers for the Crossroads Centre, a drug treatment center in Antigua, established by Eric Clapton himself. The festival showcases an array of talented guitarists, personally selected by Clapton, and brings together some of the most influential names in the guitar world.

Among the notable musicians who have participated in the Crossroads Guitar Festival are B.B. King, Buddy Guy, and John Mayer. B.B. King, often referred to as the “King of the Blues,” was an American guitarist and singer who played a pivotal role in the development of blues music. His soulful guitar playing and distinctive voice captivated audiences around the world.

Buddy Guy, another influential blues guitarist, has been a regular presence at the Crossroads Guitar Festival. Known for his passionate and electrifying performances, Guy’s playing style and showmanship have inspired countless musicians. His ability to convey raw emotion through his guitar has made him a revered figure in the blues genre.

John Mayer, a highly acclaimed guitarist and singer-songwriter, has also been a featured artist at the Crossroads Guitar Festival. Known for his versatile playing and blues-infused style, Mayer has garnered widespread acclaim for his technical prowess and soulful performances. His participation in the festival has showcased his immense talent and contributed to the diverse lineup of guitar virtuosos.

The fact that Eric Clapton recognized the potential for John Mayer and let him play on his festival ”Crossroads” shows that John Mayer did aspire to join these guitar legends in bringing the blues genre to a wide audience, and had the technical and musical skills to do so.

John Mayer and B.B. King

When we dive into start of The John Mayer Trio and concerts John Mayer has played it is not accidental that he would eventually stumble on the King of the blues, B.B. King. Personally, I always come back to the performance of B.B. and John Mayer at the Guitar Center’s King of the Blues. This performance from 2006 showed that John Mayer quickly got recognized by the greats. In this performance John used every tool disposable to level with the great B.B. King. In the beginning of this video they joke around as John Mayer emulates a few guitar licks from B.B. Kings songs. As the performances moves on you see John Mayer searching for respect from his hero and he eventually gets it as B.B. aplaudes and puts his thumb up to ease John’s mind.

Whilsts John Mayer and B.B. King performed a lot more times it is sad to say that this is unfortunately not possible for the future as B.B. has passed away in 2015, May. The fact that these two musical legends have collaborated should be cherished as they represent different generations that have something in common: Keeping the blues alive and loving the art form itself.


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