After making a small buzz with the Inside Wants Out EP, John Mayer hired veteran producer John Alagía (known for his work with the Dave Matthews Band) to beef up his full-length debut with commercial polish. Released in September 2001, Room for Squares proved to be a well-timed album, quietly heralding the end of teen pop's glory days with clever wordplay, savvy chord progressions, and mature songwriting. Songs like "No Such Thing" and "Neon" mixed jazz chords with digestible choruses, fashioning a sort of brainy, college-educated pop hybrid that appealed to discerning listeners and mainstream fans alike…
When your debut album is released on the taste-making underground label Stones Throw and declared fantastic by both John Mayer and Kanye West, you’re unbelievably cool and completely under the microscope. Such is the story of Mayer Hawthorne, the Ann Arbor, Michigan resident who early on did a lot of hip-hop things and such, but for the purposes of his second album and debut for the major label Universal, he’s the neo-soul singer with a gifted voice who uncannily sounds like a ‘60s-era Temptation given the 2011 ability to drop an F-bomb. That may sound like Cee Lo Green, and there’s no doubt that How Do You Do stands in the shadow the Goodie Mob member who got there first, but this particular bespectacled singer looks like a Wall Street intern, making his Motown jones all the more unexpected, and for some, suspect. On top of it, he retains a crate-crawling nerd’s love of nostalgic soul that’s very Stones Throw, so expect some overly authentic numbers where the adherence to an aesthetic is an arguable obstacle.
Jojo Mayer: Secret Weapons of the Modern Drummer is a fantastic tool for self-taught and tutored drummers alike. The first thing you notice is the quality: produced and filmed to a high standard, there is nothing distracting you from learning everything that Jojo has to teach. The setting is minimal, the color scheme simple and the presentation beautiful. This truly is an exceptionally well made program.
All the qualities that have made John Mayer a rising star are on display in this concert package: an interesting voice; tunes that are catchy but still have some depth; an appealingly casual slacker attitude; and enough grit to separate him from the namby-pamby singer-songwriter crowd. Recorded in 2002 in Birmingham, Alabama, the nearly two-hour concert showcases not only Mayer's songs (including some new ones) and versatile three-piece band, but also his surprisingly deft guitar playing (check out his Hendrix-saturated stylings on the unaccompanied "Man on the Side"). There are plenty of extra features as well, including an audio track with Mayer's comments about the songs, photos, and two brief but well-made (especially "Any Given Soundcheck") documentaries. All in all, a worthy addition to the catalog of an artist who keeps getting better.
Following last year’s full-length LP, ‘&’, which saw him extensively collaborate with an impressive host of contemporaries and friends, including Joe Goddard, Prins Thomas and Agoria, Michael Mayer is set to contribute to the legendary DJ Kicks series. Spanning sixteen tracks, the mix finds Mayer is just as generous of a mood, composing a musical journey that spans his ever-expanding record collection, and above all, his defining instinct to share the beauty of music with others.