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The Lefsetz Letter: John Mayer

Was in the process of destroying his career.

First there was that "Playboy" interview.

Then the "relationship" with Taylor Swift and the resulting bite-back song.

Then the firing of his long term manager for a newer au courant one responsible for hits, which Mayer so desperately desired, wanting to emulate the success of his younger girlfriend Katy Perry, and when no hits ensued he fired the new manager too.

Now John Mayer is 39. "Room For Squares" came out over 15 years ago. In today's here today gone today culture almost no one sustains. So how come he's suddenly so successful with a boffo arena tour?

It certainly had nothing to do with hits. There's a subtle shift in the music business, it's all going live. The chart is inane, not sure whether it's about sales or streams, and only a small subset of the population pays attention to the hits on both streaming services and Top Forty radio, and the rest…

Bob Lefsetz, Santa Monica-based industry legend, is the author of the e-mail newsletter, "The Lefsetz Letter". Famous for being beholden to no one, and speaking the truth, Lefsetz addresses the issues that are at the core of the music business: downloading, copy protection, pricing and the music itself.

His intense brilliance captivates readers from Steven Tyler to Rick Nielsen to Bryan Adams to Quincy Jones to music business honchos like Michael Rapino, Randy Phillips, Don Ienner, Cliff Burnstein, Irving Azoff and Tom Freston.

Never boring, always entertaining, Mr. Lefsetz's insights are fueled by his stint as an entertainment business attorney, majordomo of Sanctuary Music's American division and consultancies to major labels.

Bob has been a weekly contributor to CelebrityAccess and Encore since 2001, and we plan many more years of partnership with him. While we here at CelebrityAccess and Encore do not necessarily agree with all of Bob's opinions, we are proud to help share them with you.

Is a vast morass indecipherable unless you're deep into it.

Now it's about your fan base. You can employ publicity to try and make them aware, but if your goal is to convert new fans, you can't do it, only your fans can do it, by spreading the word online. Of course, hits make a difference, but unless you make beat-infused music you can't have one.

Concerts are burgeoning. It's a new golden age. In a digitized era people are looking for some honest truth. Which is probably why you should can the dancing and the hard drives and deliver humanity. That paradigm, of reproducing the video, evolved from a now passe era, that of MTV, when clips could cost a million bucks and become cultural touchstones. Today people watch videos on their phones in postage stamp-sized windows, it's about the music, not the image, and that's a good thing. And anybody with a smash video has seemed to lose traction thereafter. Can you say PSY, can you say Baauer? So when people go to the show they want to feel the buzz, the electricity, of a one of a kind event, not the exact same circus that's gonna play the next day in Pittsburgh.

Of course there are exceptions, successful touring spectacles.

But that brings us back to Mr. Mayer. His career was at a nadir and what did he do, play with the Grateful Dead!

Now there was a predecessor. One Bruce Hornsby. Who too had gigantic soft rock radio hits and then threw them over in a 180, venturing to where it was conventionally thought his audience did not tread. But this turned out to be untrue. Some fans remained and Bruce made a whole coterie of new ones, much more loyal than the old ones, the fans of Jerry, et al. Because, as established above, it's your fans who keep you alive, not the press, and no one is more loyal than a Deadhead.

And Mayer could always wail. So he goes on the road with Weir and crew and kills it. He single-handedly brings back the magic that once was, the shows even eclipsed those at Fare Thee Well, because it was about music and not nostalgia and it was akin to Derek Trucks reinvigorating the Allman Brothers but in this case Mayer was already a star. And refused to take a victory lap. The old Mayer would have hyped up his appearance, taken credit, in this case he was mostly silent, he let his axe do the talking, and boy did it.

So he could play with the Dead, his old career was moribund, right?

Wrong. Like a musician instead of a star Mayer decided to walk into the wilderness. Make music satisfying himself instead of searching for hits, go on an aural journey instead of playing the game. Instead of dropping an entire album and carpet-bombing the universe with publicity, he put out an EP, four songs, back in January, and another four tracks just yesterday. And there's nothing a fan wants more than new music, and in the modern world four at a time is just about right, easy to check out and digest.

And there was a winner on "The Search For Everything – Wave One," "Love On The Weekend," with that smooth sound that made John Mayer the darling of women everywhere.

But the revelation was the opening cut, "Moving On And Getting Over," where he was suddenly on the losing end. Having loved 'em and left 'em, prolonging his adolescence, it ended with Katy Perry and Mayer can't seem to get over it, he's depressed and vulnerable and ultimately RELATABLE!

"I'm one text away from being back again"

But he's not. It's over. He's alone and struggling.

It's personal. Which is what we're looking for.

And "Still Feel Like Your Man," the opening cut on "The Search For Everything – Wave Two," released yesterday, is more R&B than conventional Mayer. Reminds me of no one so much as Todd Rundgren, who embraced his Philly roots on an irregular basis, it was so refreshing, you could not put him in a box, and suddenly you can't put Mayer in a box either, he's EXPERIMENTING!

Wow, it isn't only Mayer's career that's been moribund, but music too. We've had the same pop sound with the fake drums for nearly two decades and the classic acts don't even bother to make new music and when they do it's substandard iterations of what they did before and suddenly the standard bearer for testing limits is John Mayer?

Now "Love On The Weekend" has 27 million plays on Spotify. Significant, but not stratospheric. Then again, only the pop hits can go nuclear on the service, hit triple digits, and there was some radio success, but the track was not a smash. It made it to number 5 on Hot Rock Songs, a dead format if there ever was one, and number 19 on Adult Top 40, a natural format for Mayer, but not a breakthrough, and on the Hot 100 it climbed all the way to number 53, which is kind of like not being on the chart at all.

Without this airplay the three other tracks on "Wave One" don't have as much traction, but one has nearly ten million streams and one just over five million, which is quite healthy. In other words, Mayer is getting support.

But he's detached from the game. Sure, he was on "Ellen" the other day, but in reality he's now in the John Mayer business, being a musician not a star, and it's working for him!

It's possible he'll have another hit, but it doesn't seem to matter. He's gone from being two-dimensional to three, from pretty boy to musician. He's continuing, testing limits and making new music when most of his contemporaries are oldies acts playing to dwindling audiences on double and triple bills.

It wasn't headed this way. John Mayer's career was headed for the dumper, down, down, down. But he took risks, refused to play it the way everybody told him to, and it worked!

And it can work for you too. If you play to your fans instead of the media. The system needs fodder, to chew up and spit out. It's a thrill to have a hit, but the focus is less on music than it is on the penumbra. But if you can garner an audience that loves you first and foremost for your tunes instead of your celebrity, they'll follow you anywhere. Arguably, your celebrity works against you. Mayer's vulnerability on these new tracks illustrates he's just like you and me, he still hurts, we all still hurt.

And we all still want to feel good.

So we go to the show to hear the songs we know and the ones we don't and dance in the aisle and smile and if you can deliver this experience you can sell every ticket in the building.

Like John Mayer.

Dude…I love it when you put one over the fence. I just finished a week at Caesars Palace ha ! It's all about that established fan base circumventing the current bullshit "what's hot now" media hype. We deliver live, up close and personal. That's not to say that we haven't brought the spectacle, the 22 semi production extravaganza in the day, it's just that the "what was then" mainstream modes of exposure linked to mainstream perception has converted to other mediums.]

Radio is dead….Clear Channel, the largest conglomerate of terrestrial stations is 24 BILLION dollars in the hole. They aren't coming back.

Currently, there is a void that will eventually be filled relative to critical mass exposure that has not, to date been established.

Will it be steaming ?

The Jury's out.

So live, being able to actually, in real time, deliver is and always has been king.

Hype mediocrity to fill the lulls and gaps all you want, this has always been a con the sheep, King with no clothes business but every now and then the real shit, damn the torpedoes phenom pierces through the flack and all hell breaks loose despite the side show warts.

Mayer is a rock solid talent. I don't give a shit what he's said or done. Listen to the guitar lead on Gravity. Case closed. Create that wannabe neophytes.

…..ain't gonna happen unless you're a freak of nature. Mayer is. He's a prodigy. If it's about talent….that shit don't grow on trees.

That's who my hard earned money goes to.

Ronnie Dunn

Your John Mayer piece was right on the money, an astute assessment of an interesting artist. I could only add one thing – John Mayer has one major quality a lot of the current faves lack: he is a consummate musician, one who obviously spent countless hours with his guitar when he was young. He has a beautifully balanced combination of technique and art, almost as if there was a direct connection between his heart and his fingers. There's a Youtube video of Mayer playing Robert Johnson's classic "Crossroad Blues" with Eric Clapton and a killer band, recorded a few years ago on Good Morning America. Mayer's solo is a revelation, proof positive that three chords are never restrictive for someone who can combine a killer technique with a boundless imagination.

John Boylan

Of course there are exceptions, successful touring spectacles….. u know i just like fuckin w u right bob? hahahaha – PS – that taylor swift song "better man" is fucking awesome. right (wright)
about how she is proving u wrong?…u gotta give it up. she nailed it. better than anything john ever wrote. and me…except picture. truth.

Kid Rock

That Wave One EP is great! Love it. Love him, he's the real deal. Weirdly I just got into the Dead after making fun of them for years. Love the first three records and jerrys solo record. Anyway, cool that Mayer went there, then released an EP that sounds nothing like the dead. I also agree, that cut Moving On, And Getting Over is GREAT!!!



Josh Nelson

Nice work…thanks Bob


Consistency in narrative. On the one hand you talk repeatedly about the importance of striving to create lasting art, on the other you laude the disposable bubble gum pop of JM, and others getting big play on spotify while pretending the fleeting popularity of current but transient tunes mean something akin to greatness. The guy can play guitar, and clog the airwaves and internet with pure tripe. At times you seem to know what really matters, and others not so much.

Bob Kalill

A Fairfield boy writing about a Fairfield boy. CTRoots.

"You're gonna live forever." From wave 1 is incredible track too.

Kyle Miller

Don't forget Mayer appeared with BB King at the Hollywood Bowl in 2015. (Tedeschi-Trucks opened and they jammed with Mr. King as well.) John was low-key and very respectful of the blues legend. His attitude alone won the crowd. And then when Derek sliced and diced the night, Mayer joined BB in praise. The pretty boy—as you called him—was one of us, slack-jawed and cheering a new guitar king. Mayer made 18,000 friends that evening.

Eric Boardman

Thats a hell of a lot if time to be spending on John Mayer.

Kyle Ferraro

Good one.

Jason Hirschhorn

Bob, did you catch that BB King reference in "Still Feel Like Your Man"? "Ever since the day we met…" the same lyrical reference in Primitive Radio Gods's "Standing Outside a Broken Phone Booth with Money in My Hand."

Mike Vial

I accidentally discovered JM on his Inside Wants Out acoustic release. The basis of this EP made up Room For Squares.

His music was poppy, yet the lyrics seemed smarter and there seemed to be something behind the curtain.

Each subsequent release was a change in musical direction and experimentation. While I am sure he began to lose some fans from the first record he began to make new ones. Me for one. My wife and I have seen him live at least 10+ times and I became fascinated with what a great guitar player he was. His band are always stellar players and the vibe at a Mayer show is fantastic. Nothing like an outdoor show on the shores of Lake Ontario enjoying a few beverages and watch this man work some magic under the lights.

I have felt like he is most likely the only modern artist who was allowed to move the needle on each release. It didn't feel like he was sticking to a formula. The John Mayer Trio show I saw in a small club was mind blowing. An excellent musical detour. I believe if you are a fan of good music, of true playing then if turned onto John Mayer, you will become a fan.

The new tour recreates the concert film he did with Danny Clinch with three distinct sets. Should be a terrific night of quality music by one of our musical chameleon's and a little something for other casual fan and the die hard's

Todd Arkell
Cool Planet Entertainment

Been a fan of his since the beginning, and I'm happy to see him weave his way through the gauntlet of stardom and let his guitar talk more these days. He's written some really really great tunes… but dammit these new songs are godawful. All for stretching out, but here's to hoping writing good songs aren't behind him.

Brendan Willing James

Great to hear your take on the new Mayer stuff Bob. The honesty and humanity of it are undoubtedly new and very exciting. With respect though, I don't his career was ever heading for the dumper. He taught my entire generation how to play the guitar properly. I think you'll find half of the pop/blues guitarist under 35 in this world are John Mayer lifers.

He's always been a level above, and hopefully one day he'll be recognised as being in the same league as the greats.

John Vella

John Mayer is a bit of an anomaly because he is known as being an especially "true" musician, not to mention his band members are considered the finest working musicians on the planet. That in its self is a draw to see in person… in fact it's why I bought tickets my self.

Jamie Kuse
Engineer / Producer

I've always been a fan of John Mayer's. yeah, his facial moves while playing live were kind of a distraction and he got bashed for being "mean" and a drunk. He even stayed out of the music grid for awhile, like many, to dig deep and did that alone.

I think that when long time musicians do that (usually mid-to- late career) most come back more humble and more honest with their true feelings and really sing from the heart. If they lost fans over the change, they usually picked up some new ones joined with the locals .

You're so right about stepping out of the box and going for it. Open yourself up even when you are afraid to because fans relate to that human being stance different from the one of where being too much inside their head keep them with a wall up.

I loved his memorial guitar "Human Nature" for Michael Jackson. But it was easy to see he wasn't comfortable (or confident) , even though it was a very somber event, at first until Jermaine started singing it in the background and then John let go and played beautifully .

I was an A&R and started searching for musicians on MySpace back in 2005. I remember Tab Benoit messaging me on there and asked me "Ruthie, do you think there is a place in the music world for an older guy like me? I've taken off years to be there for my kids and they are grown now, so I'd like to get back in".

I answered "are you kidding? With just your name alone, people know you from before and no doubt they will again. It's good to hear that because I've always been a fan."

With maturity in the industry and time off to see where your path is leading you, a lot of musicians prosper. I know Tab did (and maybe still is. I haven't kept up) and good for John for being himself and real.

Ruthie Owen
Denver and Phoenix

Bob: Great piece on JM. He doesn't get enough credit so that was really nice to see.

Bernie Cahill

Amen! Saw 6 Dead and Co shows last summer and he killed it! I always "liked" his music but I downloaded both waves and fricken love it them! I'll be seeing him with the Dead and I'm planning on catching his show too!!!

Kellie Wilde

Very well said. Love what Derek did for Allmans.

David Harris

You're missing the #1 thing helping John Mayer! He's fucking hilarious on social media. Full blown comedian that makes every Snap a MUST watch for any age range. You completely misunderstand his resurgence into pop culture. I haven't listened to any of his music but die of laughter everyday from Meyer's antics. Calling Beyonce fit of the year!!!

Justin Levy
Head of Digital Marketing
TAO Group New York

Bob, you get better at this, always.

Some day you may even type about why "guilty pleasures" in music NEED NOT BE "guilty".

Any mortal, no matter how Critically Evolved, who cannot weaken at Karen Carpenter's voice or John Denver's songs, is unworthy of Henry Rollins's farts.

Dennis Brent

Haha. He's got you in the palm of his hand. Probably delighted you are putting words to his vision, "catching on", so to speak. This was always his plan. He knows who he is and he knows his fans (and their ardor and ability to see him too, though of course, be totally open and trusting of him to deliver beyond their expectations. After all, as an artist, your true fans are a reflection of you). He gave himself a longish leash, enough to make 'mistakes' on his terms, outside of music. Yes it got a bit out of hand, but musically, he never strayed or betrayed the reason he has a name in the first place. It's a brilliant arch…

Alexandra Moga

"…..And it can work for you too. If you play to your fans instead of the media." I love this. And I love you for consistently preaching this gospel.

Wally Wilson

Well said…reminds me of jazz players…

Michael K. Clifford


Thanks for the wisdom.

Don Meek

Kinda surprised you didn't mention Snapchat. I didn't care much for Mayer, mostly because I only heard about him through gossip sites. But after following him on Snapchat, I quickly learned he's hilarious. I'm a converted fan.

Ben Nesvig

Great article as usual bob!

Ticket broker

Wasn't it Peter Frampton that said, "A pop star's career lasts 18 months, but a musician's career lasts a lifetime."

Cheers to him.

Jon Regen

Good one, Bob.
15 plus years ago when MAYER splashed onto the scene with NO SUCH THING, it was obvious…
Not in a long while had anyone that (young) age 'Hit' -writing playing and singing on that level.
Old soul, ahead of His time… call it what you will, just glad a kid with this much talent is getting through the 'machine' …pretty much intact.

Kevin Patrick Goulet

Bob, I'm one of those Deadheads you refer to (first show in 1979). I was at all three Fare Thee Well shows and while I love Phil Lesh and Trey Anastasio, the new Dead and Company lineup with Oteil Burbridge and John Mayer feels much more like the old days. There are tons of new John Mayer fans among us who appreciate what he is doing to keep the music alive. And now many of us are now curious about Mayer's solo work too which is exactly your point.

David Meerman Scott

Refreshing. I mostly agree. The Playboy interview was detrimental. When he referred his privates to being "David Dukes" after winning appeal oddly with the hip hop community, duetting with Alicia and Beyonce I believe, what did he expect? He was even invited to play at Michael Jackson's memorial service. They were a part of the Sony family but had never met.
Then he changed his sound and went more country & western and folk. Fine. But just know you may once alienate a section of his audience. An artist should be allowed to grow and change. The John Mayor Trio was a good move. "Born & Raised" and "Paradise Valley" not so much.
I agree the first track on the first EP is encouraging. The rest left me middling. I'll now listen to the second EP.
And once again, there are other artists that found renewed box office appeal. Ever heard of Diana Ross? Probably not, though she's from the classic rock era but she isn't a classic rock artist. But Paul McCartney did escort her around London Town once and she did host a party for The Stones at her Beverly Hills home in the 70s. But she's a black pop/soul megastar so you probably don't know who she is.

Kirk Bonin

Great share Bob. I never paid the man much attention until several credible sources kept spouting about his recent Dead appearances, which I would only describe as displays of pure genius instrumentation. I'm not even a Dead fan, but this put both back on my radar, and made me a fan of what they are doing TODAY, after all.

Michael H. Burnett

Nailed it, Bob.

David Murphy

I've been telling you this for years

Greg Upham

what do you think of "the record company" opening fir him?

(and I dont think he, jm, has the magic of the dead… but a alot of people do

Dan Yotz

It's pretty simple Bob, and probably lost on most of the lost souls, he's a nice guy.

I didn't know him earlier in his career, and really don't know him now. But during the weekend of The FARE THEE WELL' Weekend in Chicago back in 2015 I ran across him a couple of times backstage, and I just watched his interactions with REGULAR PEOPLE and myself. He wasn't playing the typical 'STAR', he was 'just being a guy'.

Amazing how far being Human will get you.

Lwood (Hank Arnold)

It's funny. Saw commercials for Mayer on Ellen. Didn't realize he actually had dropped 2 EPs. Who would have thought he could sell out an arena. Just goes to show!

I know he's your idol! Lefsetz just gave him further validity.

Susan Baran

I saw Mayer live in Dallas a couple years ago. He said he had come to a point where he thought his career was over. He had already accomplished all his dreams he had set out to do. So what do you do after you've already seen the top of the business?

He wandered for a while, but said he came back just for music. Only the music.

Bam! What you wrote reflects that journey.

And yes, he's got some chops.

Joel Wilson

Hi Bob, I believe I sent you an email a couple of years ago about how talented I thought John Mayer is. And even during the "hits" phase he still surrounded himself with best musicians like Steve Jordan and Pino Palladino. Maybe now that the "hits" are gone all that we can see is the musician. I also saw a clip on Youtube where Eric Clapton talks about how John blew him away during the making of Clapton's tribute to JJ Cale album and nailed everything on the first take. John Mayer is a rare talent indeed.

Tom Principato

I'm so glad you got it.

John has always been a real musician and is VERY clever.

He made money selling "Your Body is a Wonderland", but he played well enough to play on Clapton records and tour with Buddy Guy.

He made the "bread n butter" top 40 music so he could get a seat at the Grammy's. Where he could feature onstage with the musicians everyone REALLY respects, because he has the talent.

And make no mistake, this was ALWAYS his plan. I worked for him in 2000. He was always working hard doing the stuff that he wanted to achieve, because the music came so naturally he could turn up on the day and smash it. He is the musical version of the model who eats McDonald's and doesn't gain a pound or the Harvard-bound valedictorian in high school who never had to study and could breeze through exams in their sleep. Truth be told the model has a dream to be a veterinarian and has to study for it like crazy and the valedictorian wants to be an ice dancer. Ask him about his tattoo, or his signature line of gig and gadget bags for incase, ask him about John Mayer Has a TV Show or his stint hosting the Late Late Show or the stunts he used to pull in the parking lots at his shows. He's funny and very committed to every project he undertakes, because he doesn't have to stress about the money or the fame. Someone is always gonna pay him to play music and fame is neither here nor there for him.

I hope he finds what he is looking for in a woman.

Angela Randall

I think you two grew up 1.4 miles away from each other in Fairfield. Surprised you didn’t mention that.

Mat Orefice

Ummmm… Duh?

Thanks for reminding us that music is great.

And that John Mayer is incredible.

You really need to get some hobbies dude.


Good guitar player Not a really great creator of original music

Kevin F. Sutter

John Mayer is single-handedly the worst thing that has ever happened to the legacy of the Grateful Dead.

Adam King

Something will surprise you about John Mayer. Check out how he signed up for his own brand of laundry soap??????

Guy Melhuish

I enjoy your newsletter, Bob, but you’re way off on John Mayer. Except the period when his voice was shot, he’s always been a HUGE star more than capable of packing stadiums throughout the world. We get it; you’re trying to stay relevant, but you’re wrong on this one.

Paul Babb

John Mayer is sustaining because he is an actual musician who can play and write. Love or hate his music, he's never won on gimmicks–the hallmark of the one-hit-wonder (hello Berklee bro Psy). There are still people out here who want to hear a person's mastery of an instrument wrapped in emotion and intensity. Love it.

Ted Doyle

John Mayer: once a douchebag, always a douchebag. He has no regard for his audience, and is just another opportunist. It blew my mind when the Dead community suddenly deemed him "cool," because it was just by association – which of course has always been his m.o. rather than to put in the sweat equity. Mayer is the only artist in the 9-year history of our magazine, Blurt, to receive a "0" star rating (out of a possible "5") in a review.

Fred Mills
Asheville, NC

I have read a few articles from you in the past, most notably the one about Steve Perry performing with the Eels, and I just wanted to let you know that I enjoy your writing immensely.

I don't have a good way with words, but you tell it like it is, with no discernible personal feelings included, such as a certain publication out there which I try to avoid. I appreciate the way you talk about the music business as it should be talked about – the artistic performance, and not all the bells and whistles that have been added over the years – just the pure, raw talent.

I loved reading this regarding John Mayer – makes me look at him in a different light and appreciate him more for not caving in to the current music business "rules and regulations."

I recently subscribed to your email, and I am looking forward to future articles, especially any regarding Steve Perry!!!

Thanks for sharing your own artistic talent with the world!!


Patty Rulo

I don't know anything about him and was unaware he went out with Weir. Will check him out. My wife and I are about to sail for 4 days on the OUTLAW Country Cruise. All hail live music for 13 hours a day and a bed 100 feet from your show. Peace!

Michael A. Becker

Bob Lefsetz, you shred Lady Gaga for moving away from hits, for experimenting, and then turn around and praise John Mayer for doing the same thing? Name me the difference. Never mind, I know what it is. Gettin real tired of this.

Kaeli Earle

Bruce Hornsby to me is one of the greatest musicians the world has ever known. Not only did he write some of the most beautiful songs we have ever been given, ( Mandolin Rain, Lost Soul, sung with Sean Colvin by the way, The River Runs Low, The Way It is, and Bob…..literally dozens and dozens more… many varied styles and incredible creativity, and mind boggling virtuosity on his instrument. If you truly understand Bruce it can be summed up in one quote he made in his career…" I don't see a song as a museum piece."

Might not be the exact words Bob, but what he meant was clear if you have ever seen him.

Everything he plays is a living breathing piece of art, that changes and grows constantly, and is never played the same way twice. I agree that his playing with the Dead gave him new fans, but if you have truly followed him like I have, you'd realize that Bruce only does what his musical muse tells him to do….

If for a few years it was the Dead, then he played with the Dead. If Ricky Skaggs was next, then incredible bluegrass was next. If he wanted to spend a year or 2 just working on his left hand piano chops then Bruce would just practice for hours on end. He made a conscious decision many years ago not to be locked in a box, by short sighted fans, who only wanted to hear a song the way it existed on the record.

Not Bruce, as he literally plays every style under the sun, with every great musician on the planet, and he had the faith that his fans would come along for the ride, and Bob, we did, and more and more are finding him all the time. And what a ride he has given us….He has written iconic songs that we will all know until we die, The Way It is, Mandolin Rain, Across The River, Jacob's Ladder, and Every Little Kiss….And he is clearly one of the greatest piano players who ever lived, as he can hold his own with anyone, in any style, Jazz, rock, bluegrass…you name it…

He is a unique one of a kind, driven not by money or hits, but pushed by his inner creative voice that pushes him wherever he goes. So while he did get fans by playing with the Dead, I would be willing to bet that had absolutely no bearing on why he did it.

Bruce is an amazing one of a kind genius who is truly a gift to all of us if you are lucky enough to be touched by his amazing talent.

Leigh Goldstein

He also showed up as a guest judge on Jeff Ross' Roast Battle this season, between all the music and touring, and was great.

Josh Phelps

Well done Bob! Great points about real musicians.

Eric Almgren

I remember when John Mayer released Continuum, the bluesy record after his first two poppy/singer-songwriter albums, and I wondered if he did it all on purpose. I saw him tour on Room for Squares and could tell then that he was a better guitarist and all-around musician than the album led you to believe. With Continuum I was convinced that he successfully played the system… release two "for you" albums and get a massive audience hooked and then throw a blues album at them and say "now hear this."

His personal-life shenanigans…whatever. If you're picking what music you like based on whether or not you like the persona then you're missing out on some great tunes. (I sure as hell wouldn't be listening to the Eagles.)

I'm not even in love with his new songs (or the album before for that matter) but I love that he's releasing music that seems genuine to where he's at. The experimentation in itself is refreshing and I'll support that all day long.

Sarah Martin

I don't know what the fuss was about this guy in the first place. I never thought much of him let alone played any of his songs even during the late dinner crowd before my party night started. To me he was only known for those he dated, not his music. Not in my world in any case.

Overrated and couldn't hold a candle to the likes of an Ed Sheeran.


Spot on. I enjoyed some of Mayer's early pop stuff, but grew an appreciation when he showed us his true inner musician with the Blues trio material. As a big Deadhead, his work with Dead & Co. reinvigorated the old boys and further cemented his status in my eyes. I have enjoyed the new material, and will hopefully get the chance to catch his tour, as well as his dates with Dead & Co. this summer at Shoreline in the Bay Area. CT guys on the West Coast. Cheers!

Brian Riccardi