Real music, new sound

If John Mayer was at the top of your music list or held a sacred place in your iTunes memory, worry no more, because Mayer is resurfacing with his new album, Battle Studies, which will be released Nov. 17, 2009 on Columbia Records. This fourth studio album is co-produced by John Mayer and Steve Jordan, and includes sounds from ’70s and ’80s California rock and pop. Battle Studies was recorded in a private home in California where Mayer lived for six months before heading to Capitol Studios in Los Angeles. The album has some great new songs, including the first single “Who Says,” in which Mayer questions conventional society norms, along with “Heartbreak Warfare,” “Assassin,” and “War of My Life,” which feature universal themes. “Rock Song” and a reinterpretation of “Crossroads” give us a chance to hear the famous guitar playing we know Mayer for.

A John Mayer tour is currently being planned to begin in early 2010, following the release of Battle Studies. Until then, fans can see Mayer in concert in two performances with the John Mayer Trio, composed of Mayer, Jordan, and Pino Palladino. The first performance is on Dec. 29 in San Diego at the Copley Symphony Hall and a New Year’s Eve show on Dec. 31 at the Joint at the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas. The first concert is replacing Mayer’s annual Holiday Revue performance, and both events will be raising money for Military Outreach Ministry Camp Pendleton (MOM) and the Veterans Health Research Institute (NCIRE), two veterans’ charities.

Battle Studies can be expected to be a great album, considering Mayer’s notable history. Aside from the seven Grammys (one of which he won in 2003 for the Best Male Pop Vocal) that he has under his belt and the 12.5 million albums he has sold worldwide, Mayer was placed on Time magazine’s Time 100 list of the most influential contemporary thinkers, leaders, artists, and entertainers in May 2007. He was also featured on the cover of Rolling Stone magazine’s annual “Guitar” issue. Mayer achieved multi-platinum status with his first two studio albums, Room for Squares and Heavier Things, and his music has been featured in hit movies such as The Bucket List. He has even written pieces for magazines, including the likes of Esquire, a men’s magazine.

Mayer’s 2006 album, Continuum, was also produced by Mayer and Jordan. The first single on this album, “Waiting on the World to Change,” is a song that almost everyone knows and loves, and it became popular very quickly. Within a week of its release on July 11, 2006, it was the third-most downloaded song of the week on the iTunes Music Store.

On the performance side, Mayer has collaborated with a wide variety of artists across the genres, including hip-hop, rock, and the blues. He has performed or recorded with BB King, Alicia Keys, Jay-Z, Eric Clapton, Buddy Guy, and The Dixie Chicks, and his upcoming album features new teen sensation Taylor Swift in the song “Half of My Heart.”

Fans take Mayer very seriously as an artist, but he shows himself to be another person. “Here it is. Gibberish. Lyrics that mean nothing. Arrangements set in sand. But a vibe. Maybe it grows into a full song, maybe it just informs another. But being my own producer, as all songwriters are, means saying to myself, ‘just write it,’ ” Mayer said on his website johnmayer.com. “Judging a song while writing it is like grounding a toddler. I don’t know how, but trust me.” And from words like these, we get the John Mayer we know and love today.