Tuneage Tutelage Music Review - John Mayer "Where The Light Is"

Sparks Of Insanity By Vinny "Bond" Marini Monday, June 30, 2008

Now, I have to begin by saying that only recently have I begun listening to John Mayer. Sure I have known of him and all, but listening...well that just started recently. I only had a couple of his songs on my iTunes and I always enjoyed them. I have never seen him in concert either. That is going to have to change.

WHERE THE LIGHT IS - JOHN MAYER LIVE IN LOS ANGELES is his newest effort and the first album I have listened to start to finish. It drops from Sony/BMG into your stores tomorrow, July 1st.

The concert opens with Mr. Mayer on stage playing acoustic. On Friday, we let you hear one of these tunes "Stop This Train". These song showcase his guitar playing, a combination of chords and picking intertwined to create a kaleidoscope of colors behind his voice.

In our comments section, Another Desert Rat heard the early James Taylor in the guitar and the whistling...and I have to agree. I felt transported back to those early songs by Mr. Taylor.

Mayer's voice is strong in falsetto and he endears you to the melody with some breathless passages during "Train" and "In Your Atmosphere".

"Daughters", from his HEAVIER THINGS album, which won Mayer the 2005 Grammy for Song Of The Year, is included during the acoustic set.

He ends the acoustic set with a most wonderful interpretation of the Tom Petty hit "Free Fallin'". I love Petty's version, but this might have moved a tad above. Mayer owns the song, infusing it with his unique vocal styling and the guitar work is just remarkable.

Next is the trio set along with Steve Jordan on drums & vocals and Pino Palladino on bass.

They open with "Everyday I Have The Blues" and set the stage for an 8-song set of guitar laden rock and blues.

"Wait Until Tomorrow" and "Who Did You Think I Was" are both reminiscent of the power trios of the 60's and 70's.

Then a walking boogie "Come When I Call" stops you in your tracks. This is when the trio really meshes with Jordan & Palladino laying down the road and Mayer traveling across the surface smooth as silk.

"Good Love Is On The Way" which appeared as an acoustic version on the EP THE VILLAGE SESSIONS is next and could be mistaken for any number of songs released by other artists...at least in the electric version. It is the one song on the CD I have not listened to twice.

Then back to what I believe is what the trio does best...a slow blues number entitled "Out Of My Mind". Mayer shows us how his mastery of the guitar is in the vein of Stevie and Eric and B.B..

"Vultures" from CONTINUUM opens with Palladino and Jordan laying down a hard blues beat and then Mayer lets his guitar pick it's place...Once again showing the solid relationship between the three musicians.

The trio's set ends with Mayer's cover of the brilliant Jimi Hendrix tune "Bold As Love". His bandmates create the carpet of sound originally laid down by Mitch Mitchell and Noel Redding. No one can truly recreate the magic of Jimi, but Mayer shows, once again, why Rolling Stone Magazine has had him on the cover of their Guitar Heroes issue for the last two years.

Disc two is dedicated to the band set, which consists of Mayer, David Ryan Harris on guitars, tambourine and vocals; Robbie McIntosh on guitars, dobro and vocals; JJ Johnson on drums; David Labruyere on Bass; Tim Bradshaw on keys, lap steel and vocals; Bob Reynolds on tenor and soprano saxophone; and Brad Mason on trumpet and flugelhorn.

The set opens with the song that earned Mayer the Grammy for Best Male Pop Vocal in 2006, "Waiting On The World To Change".

Also included in this set is "Slow Dancing In A Burning Room", the song featured on 2 episodes of C.S.I. in 2006 and the funky "I Don't Need No Doctor" written by Nick Ashford and Valerie Simpson and made famous to millions of rockers by Humble Pie in the 70's. Mayer's take has a little more of an R&B feel to it and I could see taking darlin' Nancy in my arms and spinning across the dance floor to this one.

Also included is "Gravity", the song Mayer has been quoted as saying is "the song I have always wanted to write". A slow ballad featuring a solo by Mayer that sweeps the listener away.

Other songs are "Why Georgia", "The Heart Of Life", "I Don't Trust Myself (With Loving You)", "Belief" and "I'm Gonna Find Another You".

Over all you'll get the full spectrum of the John Mayer experience on these two discs. The concert is also being released on a DVD, though we were not able to obtain a copy.

If you are a Mayer fan, you need to check out this effort. If you are on the fence about this talent, this collection just might push you over to his side.

The packaging is well done with a separate booklet of pictures from the concert.

One thing, and YES, this is a nit-pick that bothered my A-type personality and my advertising mindset, was that two of the songs had misspellings in their titles when they transferred into my iTunes. Not sure if this was corrected by the time the CD was mass produced, but for an artist that seems to have control of his career, I can't believe he would be happy.

In our opinion, worth your money...worth your time...and it will stay in your rotation once you give it a listen.


As I mentioned last week, I was sent a second copy of WHERE THE LIGHT IS, to be used as a give-away.

Tell me in your comments why you should be the one to receive this and tomorrow, I will announce the winner...as always creativity counts!

21 Of Your Sparks

  1. DrillerAA Says:
  2. I have to admit that, generally speaking, I'm not a "live-in-concert" album kind of guy, but I may have to break with tradition in this case. I do have Fogerty's "Long Road Home" concert album and it is very good. Thanks for the review.

  3. Dana Says:
  4. Well, I'm guessing whining isn't going to work, but maybe a bit of pity will do? John Mayer is one of my son's favorite musicians, and since he won't be riding his bike in the month of July (Can you say bike helmet attached to handlebars of bike - instead of on his head - and a crash that resulted in a 3-hour visit to the ER which included x-rays of his skull and elbow?) I was thinking maybe listening to John Mayer might just offer him a little entertainment. I'm thinking "Gravity", in particular, might be a great one for him to listen to over and over again!

  5. Schmoop Says:
  6. Not a big fan, and even less so of James Taylor. Ugh. Cheers Vin!!

  7. Travis Cody Says:
  8. You captured what I enjoy about John Mayer...he brings you into the music with either his voice or his melodies.

    Thanks for the review!

  9. When I first saw John it was in a bar, for a 5 dollar cover circa 2001/2 and it was acoustic. I had that instant "This kid will be a star" moment. Said it out loud and he heard me and said "Thank You" back to me ;)

    It has always driven on me that he is tagged as just another pop artist because anyone who has seen him live can tell you that this boy is a blues guitarist first and foremost. He did Free Fallin the last time I saw him in concert which was electric, in more ways than one, and included Sheryl Crow.

    He is fan-freakin-tastic live. You must go Vinny. I have said this before and I will continue to harp on you until you do.

    Did ya know Clapton flew him to England early on and "instructed" him on how to live the rock star life? Yup, he told young John to buy a Porsche or Ferrari, I can't remember which. When Eric Clapton thinks you have it, RS covers are kinda beside the point. He tours with Buddy Guy and BB King sometimes as well.

    As for why *I* should get the other disc?

    A. HUGE FAN and have been since before he was a star.

    B. I think I deserve some props for hounding you about him early on :P

    C. C ....well C is for Canolli which you can't make me, therefore it should be replaced with CD...see it's alphabetically prophetic!

  10. Fred Says:
  11. Ever since he dated Jessica Simpson, I deleted him from my memory.

  12. DRILLERAA: This is so intimate, even during the electric sets, you will not think of it as a live album

    DANA: OH MY...I hope he is feeling better...sympathy angle always works for wining prizes...we will see...

    MATT-MAN: So, you are saying you do not want a chance to win then?

    TRAVIS: Glad you enjoyed...thanks

    STARR: If he would come anywhere near me I would go see him, but he is not coming anywhere within 3 hours....
    Nice list...LOL my Type-A likes alphabetical!

    FRED: jealousy? LOL

  13. Ken Says:
  14. Let Dana have it for her son, [ya right!]

  15. Meribah Says:
  16. Whatever you do, DON'T give it to the puppy...she wouldn't appreciate it! :P

  17. Oh I was going to say that, Vinny - give the copy to dana for her son!!

    Did you get a chance to see the nyc waterfalls photos that I took and posted on my blog? :)

  18. desert rat Says:
  19. Fantastic review. I really appreciate an artist or a tune being compared to a known commodity - favorably or not - helps me get a better flavor of how the music is going to sound. You do that well.

    Personally, I love vintage rock and R&B (and James Taylor, sorry, Matt-Man!) - I'm eclectic, I guess.

    I can't imagine that I would be any more worthy a recipient than your devoted and deserving regular readers - so in all honesty, I would feel awkward jumping up and down, waving my lighter, and screaming "throw that sweaty shirt over here!" - I mean, "pick me, pick me!"

    However, if jumping up and down and waving wildly would help... I can guarantee the CD would stay in my rotation (heh heh).

  20. ~~~venturing out from underneath pillow~~maybe i will live afterall~~hopefully i will be talking with you soon and making a trip that way~~

  21. MICKEY-T: Think she is BSing me??? LOL

    MERI: Ah now...guess you are not a fan

    THE TEACH: I am heading there now...you guys are such softies...

    ADR: Thanks for the compliment. Now, be careful with that lighter...the fire marshall might not like it.

    CHARLENE: Still breathing...not holding breath...

  22. Kb Says:
  23. What a thoughtful and compelling review! I'll have to take a trip to iTunes.

  24. I really like John Mayer a lot. I never really thought of him as Taylor, but I understand the comparison. Good job!

  25. TopChamp Says:
  26. hello, thank you for your comment x I will come and listen tomorrow as I'm pissed just now.. sorry x x x

  27. Tug Says:
  28. Not a fan, just stopping by to say 'hi'! ;-)

  29. Lu' Says:
  30. I should win because I don't know one of this guys songs. I think he is dating Jenifer Aniston and that is about all I know about him. Possibly you can enlighten me.

  31. leelee Says:
  32. Not a fan per se...but on your recommendation I'll give him a whirl..

    Now You on tHE other hand...I am big FAN OF..


  33. Maggie Moo Says:
  34. Oh how I LOVE JM! Not only is he a CT boy but he's super dreamy! He's not even hot, but his voice is amazing...I finally got to see him live last summer and he does NOT disappoint. I was lucky enough to see him in our home state of CT, so his parents were sitting on the side of the stage. The coolest thing to me was that he said he was having trouble being a cool rocker dude b/c his parents were there and that he was just a "guy". Later, he told a story about how no parent likes to hear that their son is going to be a musician and that his parents endured hours and hours and hours of guitar playing. He continued by saying that different generations usually like different music, but his parents have always been supportive and as least try to understand his music. Then-and to me this is the best part, he played a song for his parents to thank them. At the end, he turned to them and bowed his head and said thank you.

    I've always loved him, but that just put it over the edge. He is one of the only musicians that can bring me to tears every time I listen to a song. (When You're Dreamin' With a Broken Heart.) His voice just seems to seep its way into my soul. *sigh* He's just amazing. I'm glad that you found him and I hope you get to see him soon.

    Just...beware. He makes really funny faces when he plays the guitar (but makes up for it by being amazing!!)

    That being said, I think I should win. :)

  35. glad we didn't hold our breath~~and i love my new look~~thank you endless times~~you picked the most perfect picture~~i really do appreciate all of the


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