John Mayer - Born and Raised

John Mayer - "more organic, more natural lyrics and chords and artful simplicity," says Mayer of his long awaited fifth studio album and first since his controversial "really dumb" interviews a couple years back...produced by veteran Don Was (Bob Dylan, Bonnie Raitt) the new project includes backup from Allman Brothers keyboardist Chuck Leavell along with Graham Nash and David Crosby...originally scheduled for release last fall, B+R was delayed when Mayer was diagnosed with granulomas (found next to the vocal cords) a malady that has also led to his spring tour cancellation // Release: Born and Raised (May 22, Columbia) // Sounds like: the hat, jean jacket and facial hair should have been the giveaway -- this is Mayer time travelling back to Laurel Canyon, circa 1972...the dense and graceful (if somewhat calculating) commercial art/rock of 2009's Battle Studies had a distinctly hip, urban attitude while Born and Raised is a quietly invigorating irony-free escape to thoughtful and equally compelling Neil Young-styled folk/rock with an acoustic, rural feel (cue the harmonica)...

Quote: On his move to "the middle of Montana: “The question ‘Why montana’ is the answer, Why not be happy after awhile? You get to a certain age where you prepare yourself to be happy, sometimes you never remember to actually get happy. So I remembered how to get happy.” What we like: the "shadow days are over" sings Mayer and you sense this is an older, wiser voice is not only reflecting on his own life but on the purity of the classic songwriters who have influenced his own compositions... songs like the delicately patterned "Queen of California" have a directness and honesty that help define and support the album's shimmering acoustic sound...there's a nice touch of Mayer's blues roots in "Something Like Olivia" but Born and Raised is primarily a tastefully melodic dirt-road musical excursion of mostly sunny front-porch folk picking and strumming (and not a small amount of mea culpa)...

John Mayer - "Queen of California" (from Born and Raised)

John Mayer - "Shadow Days" (from Born and Raised)