Music Review: John Mayer’s New Live Album is Not So New, Not So Desirable

Originally posted 2008-07-04 23:25:08. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

By Chris Moore:

This live album by Mayer is perhaps, in terms of new music, the biggest disappointment of the year for me.  Being a John Mayer fan from the beginning, I have never quite been able to understand the degree of praise he has received for going back to the blues roots.  Yes, he is an excellent guitarist, and I am happy that more people are giving him the respect he deserves.  But he was always an energetic, talented guitarist – recall “Neon” as merely one of many examples.  I was unimpressed with the John Mayer Trio – its minimalist setup and apparent reference to the great rock trios of the seventies (Jimi Hendrix Experience comes to mind) has always seemed out of place to me when considering the depth of Mayer’s vocals and instrumental components on his studio recordings.  Then, Continuum was released, and I was truly befuddled.  It wasn’t so much that I disliked this new album – though I did and do find it lackluster at most turns – but this new album garnered such an exaggeratedly positive response.  Based on Rolling Stone magazine’s review, one might expect that this was John Mayer’s most amazing album to date and perhaps one of the most significant albums of the year.

This brings us to current day, 2008, and the release of Where The Light Is: John Mayer Live in Los Angeles.  As I entered my local music retail store, I headed for the CD section, knowing that the live album had just been released.  I had decided the night before, when I first learned of its release, that I would not purchase it.  I made this decision, knowing full well that, once I enjoy one or two albums from any given artist, I usually end up buying all their subsequent releases.  However, I thought to myself, what if they lose my interest entirely?  In the case of John Mayer, it wasn’t so much a branching out and changing of his style that concerned me – it was and is my perception that he has regressed as a songwriter.

When I saw the live album, I almost bought it.

The packaging itself is solid – a live concert in three sections: an acoustic solo set, a John Mayer Trio set, and a full band set.  The acoustic set alone intrigued me; “Stop This Train” is one of my few favorites from Continuum, “Daughters” would work perfectly in this type of arrangement, and Tom Petty’s “Free Fallin’” is one of my favorite songs.

So, I had picked it up, and looking it over, the desire to buy it was creeping in.  Then I read the second section – the Trio set.  Five of the eight songs in this portion were featured in the John Mayer Trio live album.  What could be so significantly different about these performances?  Of the final nine songs in the full band set, all but two were songs from Continuum.  The other two included “Why Georgia,” one of my favorite songs by Mayer, and a Ray Charles cover.  Why would I want to hear a live set of songs from an album that I was unimpressed with?

Saddened and, truthfully, disappointed, I placed the CD back on the rack.  I can’t say I will never listen to Where The Light Is, but I can say with certainty that I will not purchase it myself.  And that makes me very sad, as Mayer had quickly become one of my favorite new music artists on the scene a few years ago.  For perhaps the first time in my young, CD-collecting life, I have left an artist behind.  He may be off to new work with the blues community, but I’m off to listen to his lesser-appreciated work – the charming and spirited Inside Wants Out EP, the instant hit Room For Squares, and even the follow-up effort Heavier Things.  For me, those albums had it all – solid songwriting and great guitar work.

At most, I may return to Continuum and try to figure out what exactly it is that I have missed.

“One After 909” (Beatles Cover)

Originally posted 2013-09-22 13:54:43. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

By Jeff:

Assistant Editor’s note: This was originally posted on September 17, 2009.  The TV in this post is still the one in my living room, and I still have one HDMI input free.

Welcome to Thumpin’ Thursday!  I’ve dug back in time for this week’s video, and gone to a classic song, and one of our many Beatles cover songs.

The song is “One After 909” by The Beatles, from their album “Let It Be”.  I wonder if this song is in their new Rockband game?  Well, if it isn’t, it perhaps should be.  It’s simple, but just has a catchy, bluesy feel to it.

I first heard this song thanks to Chris, when the two of us and our friend Alberto did a show at his house.  This song opened the show and it stuck with me because of how catchy it is.

When you look at the lyrics, you see it’s definitely a train story.  It apparently is about a man who’s going to pick up his friend/girlfriend/wife/whatever at the train station, but the woman, who was supposed to get on 909, gets on the one after!

I ordered a new HD TV yesterday because our old box went boom on me.  I was watching Sportscenter Tuesday morning and all of a sudden “BEOUUUU”, and then that was followed by the smell of electronics burning.  Not good.  So, I purchased a 32 inch LG LCD with a whole lotta HDMI inputs.  I was a little nervous, but then I noticed my cable box has an HDMI out.

Funny thing, is last week I said to my wife “Do you think it’s time to get a new TV?”

Stupid karma.

Ok well i’ll see you next week for my next video!  Toodles!

Bob Dylan Discography: 1961 – 1969

Originally posted 2008-06-25 22:40:31. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

By Chris Moore:

A couple years ago, a friend at work asked me for some information about Bob Dylan and his work in the 1960s. Little did she know I would not only give her son as much verbal information as he required, but I would also type up a brief discography of his albums. I just came across it today, and I figured I would share it with you all!

Bob Dylan Discography

– The Sixties

1961 – January: Moves to New York

1962 – March: Bob Dylan

-Very folky album, mostly comprised of covers. His early original “Song to Woody” (for his hero, Woody Guthrie) is notable.

1963 – May: The Freewheelin’ Bob Dylan

-His first big success and one of his true classics! This is the album that made bands like the Beatles stand up and take notice of him.

1964 – January: The Times They Are A-Changin’

-Deep in the heart of his “protest song” era, this topical album solidified his standing with the folk artists of the 1960’s.

August: Another Side of Bob Dylan

-In this album, Dylan’s desire to break away from topical songs and write more personal material—“My Back Pages,” etc.—becomes evident.

1965 – March: Bringing It All Back Home

-Dylan begins to “go electric” with this half acoustic, half electric album.

August: Highway 61 Revisited

-This is where Dylan pulled out all the stops and made a sound that was all his own. Best known for its lead-off song, “Like A Rolling Stone.”

1966 – May: Blonde on Blonde

-Dylan pushes his sound a step further with this album; widely considered to be among the (if not THE) best album of his career.

1967 – December: John Wesley Harding

-Following his motorcycle accident in 1966 and the cancellation of his upcoming tour dates, fans were somewhat thrown by his return to a more folky sound.

1968 –

Records in a basement with the Band; those widely bootlegged takes were later
released as The Basement Tapes

1969 – April: Nashville Skyline

-Making the transformation complete, he released this country rock album with a new version of “Girl of the North Country” (originally from Freewheelin’) as a duet with Johnny Cash.

“Mama Said” (Metallica Cover)

Originally posted 2009-06-18 22:48:59. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

By Jeff:

Yep, welcome to Thumpin’ Thursday, which is a day where many firsts happen.  This week it’s a first from a band you wouldn’t think makes music that would be fitting for an acoustic cover.

Well, even they have to record an acoustic one here and there.

However, I refuse to stoop to their commercially successful song “Nothing Else Matters” partly because I don’t think it’s as good of an acoustic song as the one today, but also because I’m really focusing on covering the tunes that I enjoy the most.

So with that said, here’s a 12 year old song called “Mama Said” from their 1996 album “Load”.  This album was received to mixed reviews for multiple reasons.  Firstly, the music tended to lean more towards the alternative movement that was still exploding in the mid-90s.  Secondly, the album was a style change from the traditional “everything in E-minor” key that was common in their previous albums.  Thirdly, they all cut their hair and posed in some weird outfits for the album photo shoot.  While the third one doesn’t have anything to do with the music, the die hard fans enjoyed watching them sway their hair around stage as they pumped out their music.

This song is one of James Hetfield’s recurring themes when he write lyrics – his mother.  While I can’t recall every one of their songs that deals with this, it is quite numerous.  The tune is a bit of a sad one if you pay attention to the lyrics.

I also continue to focus on getting the sound to work out on the condenser mic on my camera.  I just don’t have the time to invest on anything better for recording the videos.  I’ll have to work with what I have.  Currently i’m focusing on aiming the sound hole from the guitar at the microphone to amplify the quality of the guitar.  However, in this video it does seem to be a bit much.  If you have suggestions, i’ll be happy to entertain them (short of buying new equipment).

Editor’s Note: Unfortunately, Jeff’s acoustic cover song music videos are no longer on YouTube, but we decided to keep his cover song blog posts up.  We figured these music blog entries would be good for posterity’s sake and because Jeff always gave such insightful posts each Session.  We hope to see Jeff’s impressive catalog of acoustic rock songs here on the Laptop Sessions cover songs and original music blog again in the future.  But, for now, please make sure to check-out hundreds of other acoustic cover songs from all of your favorite bands here on the Laptop Sessions music blog!