John M. and the Silver Sky (Gulp)

Valves-R-Us

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I caught John Mayer's Silver Sky interest up here. Checked out his demo of the SE. He ripped a few cool lines and seemed genuine with the SE release. Curious about the guitar, I thought perhaps a deep dive into his tunes was in order. I expected guitar solos, killer hooks and riffs, thinking his following were Strat-O-Holics?

What I listened through were certainly tasty songs well arranged and enjoyable. What I was surprised at was, there didn't seem to be heavy guitar things going on? The writing was great, his voice fits, some very complex songs, but where's the Strat-ish examples? Interesting his calm-ish music without face ripping solos has a following with the guitar he wields. Maybe the magic is in the mix where the Strat/SS carries the songs but he's not a Joe Bonamassa kinda guy tossing solos like snacks?
 

Schlep

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"without face ripping solos".... clearly you have not watched any live footage. He may not be playing face ripping guitar, but his face and body contortions suggest otherwise.

I'm just sayin' : )

Independent of what seems like a bit of showmanship / posing, his is a pretty great guitarist. Not the face melting kind, but I do have a lot of resect for his playing.
 
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slide13

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I think some of the studio recordings are geared for more mainstream acceptance....and his playing is geared to fit the song and not really showcase his skills so much.

I like some of his live performances better.....4:28 is a nice place here

 

slide13

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Also, check out some videos of him playing with Dead & Co. That was what really woke me up to the skill that Mayer has. I was never a fan of his music before, but I've come to appreciate a lot of it after seeing him play with Dead & Co. and gaining an appreciation for his skills
 

caspa

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I caught John Mayer's Silver Sky interest up here. Checked out his demo of the SE. He ripped a few cool lines and seemed genuine with the SE release. Curious about the guitar, I thought perhaps a deep dive into his tunes was in order. I expected guitar solos, killer hooks and riffs, thinking his following were Strat-O-Holics?

What I listened through were certainly tasty songs well arranged and enjoyable. What I was surprised at was, there didn't seem to be heavy guitar things going on? The writing was great, his voice fits, some very complex songs, but where's the Strat-ish examples? Interesting his calm-ish music without face ripping solos has a following with the guitar he wields. Maybe the magic is in the mix where the Strat/SS carries the songs but he's not a Joe Bonamassa kinda guy tossing solos like snacks?

I think what you're seeing is that Mayer is an incredible song writer first, attracting different groupsof fans where as... uh well JB has one very specific type of fan.

red-rocks-amphiteatre-crowd.jpg


Like I personally much prefer Mayer's incredible Americana albums where he ditched the whole out-of-place blues solo thing. But I also have never been able to get through a JB song involving singing.
 

Valves-R-Us

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I was expecting a guitar orientated lean like a Robben Ford or Santana thing. Not to suggest he's isn't a fine player, the studio tunes were just a little surprising. I'll checkout Dead & Co. and his live stuff as certain those reveal more.

The YouTube live video above is what I was looking for. Thanks - now I get it!
 
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caspa

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I was expecting a guitar orientated lean like a Robben Ford thing. Never to suggest he's not a fine player, the tunes were just a little surprising. I'll checkout Dead & Co. and his live stuff as certain those will reveal more.

I think one thing to keep in mind with Mayer is he was probably the first SUPER SUPER gear obsessed 'pop star' in a few decades. Mayer was and still is well known for owning millions and millions of dollars worth of the highest end gear, and also nerding out about it constantly.

I think that and the extreme SRV obsession he had in the early days brought him to the forefront of gear circles. Robben Ford is about as niche as it gets outside of gear forums though, he's not exactly filling up even medium sized venues.
 

nl128

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I get what you’re saying.
I always thought the fan boyish hold that JM has on middle age men can be on the creepy side from time to time.

I mean that as no disrespect to JM , I really appreciate his skills as a player and song writer.

I tried to dig into his catalog a few times and it’s just not for me.

I’ll admit I haven’t heard much of the dead & CO music he’s done. I’ll give it a listen sometime.
 

caspa

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I get what you’re saying.
I always thought the fan boyish hold that JM has on middle age men can be on the creepy side from time to time.

I mean that as no disrespect to JM , I really appreciate his skills as a player and song writer.

I tried to dig into his catalog a few times and it’s just not for me.

I’ll admit I haven’t heard much of the dead & CO music he’s done. I’ll give it a listen sometime.

I think it's very understandable on the middle aged men point - a hyper popular pop star does hours and hours of interviews about dumbles, vintage strats, hiring Cesear Diaz and running hundreds of thousands worth of vintage blackface fenders?

He just lined up perfectly with the big kick of the internet gear craze.

FWIW, I would check out 'Born and Raised' and 'Paradise Valley' rather than Dead & Co if you want to avoid all the cornyness from both the early pop/blues era and the dead stuff.

I think he's struggling with the last two albums as well - Sob Rock in particular is a very large misfire.
 

VintagePlayerStrat

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Can't take his vocals at all. So nasally, whiney and pubescent sounding. Shame, because the compositions are well done and the playing is tasteful.

As far as his guitar tone and chops, I thought he sounded significantly better on the Black CS Strat he played for a long time. To me, that tone showcased the full range of a good Strat.
 

fallensyrup

Silver Supporting Member
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You are right -- he keeps the studio stuff pretty tame (intentionally). Check out his live music for longer / better guitar solos:
Some studio solos that stick out to me as being strong (even if not 2 minute long face melters):
  • Belief
  • Bold as Love
  • Guess I Just Feel Like
  • All I want is to be With You
  • Last Train Home (Ballad Version)
 

Valves-R-Us

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Mayer was and still is well known for owning millions and millions of dollars worth of the highest end gear, and also nerding out about it constantly.

Ah, perhaps a guitar fan hook I wondered about. Didn't know that.

... he keeps the studio stuff pretty tame (intentionally).

He must have a good manager or producer. Not exactly pop or main-steam but the trick is to sell it to the widest audience out there. Thinking endless solos would move his market a tad?
 

DrewH

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He's never been a strat wielding guitar hero in the vein of a Stevie Ray but he's a capable player. I've always been more interested in the great tone he gets versus what he's actually playing. His soloing is very derivative of his influences. Not much of his own style in there.
 

slevin011

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I think by now it's pretty well known that Mayer writes songs that cater to the masses on his albums in order to make dump trucks full of money, but really showcases his passion for guitar during live shows and his side project stuff.
 

TopJimmy5150

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2,105
All IMHO, of course...

Room for Squares had some great songs, and Heavier Things has some really cool stuff.

The Try album with the trio was great...he really let it rip.

Continuum is probably (IMHO) his best album as it has both echos of the Trio with some great acoustic and pop stuff. I was definitely a big fan at this point, and guitar forum hatred of him was super high (such as...ahem...TGP)

Battles Studies is where things go off the rails for me...I liked two of the songs but the rest of the album...I just don't know...and that approach seems to have won out with him because I haven't heard anything good from him in awhile. The albums also have too many duets with flavor-of-the-week artists.
 




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