John Mayer - Continuum Disk 2
Audio CD: September 12, 2006
Original Release Date: September 12, 2006
Bitrate: 224-320 kbps
After a short-lived stint at the Berklee College of Music, where he had a "great learning experience, but not because of class," John Mayer set down roots in Atlanta, where his music career hit the ground running. After one year in Atlanta, he released his debut solo album, Inside Wants Out, in 1999. At the same time, he became a regular in the Atlanta club circuit, playing a steady stream of shows at venues like Eddie's Attic. An appearance in March 2000 at the South by Southwest Music Festival led to a recording contract with Aware Records, a subsidiary of Columbia. He began recording his major-label debut, Room for Squares, that fall with producer John Alagia, who had previously worked with artists like Dave Matthews and the Ben Folds Five.
Mayer's first album had been a decidedly acoustic effort; in contrast, Room for Squares featured a full electric band and showed the work of its producer with its funky hooks and an emphasis placed on Mayer's versatile, smooth voice, which bore more than just a stylistic resemblance to Dave Matthews. Columbia re-released Room for Squares in the summer of 2001, adding one bonus track, and also offered a very limited-edition two-CD set including a disc with two previously unreleased covers. Mayer's dedicated fan base grew substantially larger during his first cross-country tour to support the album, spawning a number of CD-R trading outlets through fan websites, as well as a successful live album, Any Given Thursday. Mayer's lucrative follow-up, 2004's Heavier Things, resulted in another Grammy, this time for Song of the Year. Looking to strip his sound down, he formed the John Mayer Trio with drummer Steve Jordan and bassist Pino Palladino. Their sold-out tour was documented on the 2005 release Try! John Mayer Trio Live in Concert. Continuum arrived the following year. ~ Stacia Proefrock, AMG
How many musicians have you ever heard coming out of the suburbs of Fairfield, Connecticut? If you are a John Mayer fan, you know at least one. Pigeonholed as a sensitive pop artist with the debut album, Room For Squares, Mayer shifted tack to a bluesier sound with his second studio release Heavier Things. Joining up with impresarios Steve Jordan and Pino Pallidino, Mayer broke out in full on blues mode with the live album Try! Though some dismissed him, Pallidino and Jordan don't play music with hacks, and anyone who heard the track "Good Love is on the Way" knows the boy can play. With his new studio album, the excellent Continuum, Mayer continues to demonstrate his impressive guitar chops, a more mature songwriting style, and a richer, deeper sound.
The socially conscious first single "Waiting for the World to Change" reminds that "it's hard to beat the system when you're standing at a distance." "I Don't Trust Myself" features a gorgeous guitar sound and some nice fretboard work while the outstanding track "Belief" showcases some strongly emotional lyrics: "we're never going to win the world..we're never gonna stop the war...Belief is what we are fighting for." The likely second single "Gravity" is a soft, slow blues jam on which Mayer plays some fantastic lead guitar. At his recent St Louis concert, all four of these songs blew the crowd away, generating more applause than "Daughters" or "No Such Thing." "The Heart of Life" has a clean, crisp, and spare production with layered harmonies and a subdued guitar making for an elegant track.
The solid track "Vultures" is slinky and moves to a smooth beat with its falsetto harmonies sounding surprisingly good. "Stop this Train" sounds like it came directly off Heavier Things. Mayer sings of broken hearts in the beautiful "Slow Dancing in a Burning Room," which chronicles the end of a relationship , "this is the deep and dying breath, this love we've been working on." Mayer attempts to cover Jimi Hendrix on "Bold as Love", and while the guitar work is amazingly strong his vocals aren't quite as well suited to Hendrix. An elegant ballad sure to make the ladies swoon is "Dreaming With a Broken Heart." A powerful guitar solo highlights "In Repair", and closing track "I'm Gonna Find Another You" has shades of the early Mayer song "Comfortable", but with the addition of horns and electric guitar.
The 12-track record, produced mostly by Mayer with support from Jordan and Pallidino, is an extremely strong, mature collection of songs that showcases Mayer's growth as an artist. His backing band is extremely tight, and the sonic values on ther record are exceptional. Most importantly, Mayer has grown as a songwriter, incorporating new depth and substance to his songs. Those who didn't give him a chance before would be well suited to check him out now. His live shows are incredible and the man has some serious guitar chops. Fans of his earlier pop sound may be a bit disappointed, but will likely adapt quickly based on the response of the young crowds at his concerts. Comparisons to legends like Stevie Ray Vaughn and Eric Clapton are premature, but if Mayer continues on the path he's on, he will have a great career worth following closely. Highly recommended. ~ A.G. Corwin, St.Louis, MO
John Mayer - Continuum Disk 2 tracks:
01 Vultures (Live In Nassau NY)
02 Belief (Live In Cincinnati Ohio)
03 Waiting On The World To Change (Live In Washington D.C.)
04 Dreaming With A Broken Heart (Live In Nashville TN)
05 I Don't Need No Doctor (Live In Las Vegas NV)
06 Gravity (Live In Hartford CT)