I am fully prepared to admit that I am wrong when I am wrong. I'm just not wrong that often, not about music. But, in this case, I've been wrong about John Mayer. I had written him off almost entirely because of the one song I'd bothered to allow into my brain - the same one most people know him for, "Your Body Is A Wonderland," one of the creepiest songs I've heard in recent memory. And, yeah, I've read the numerous statements about his guitar skills, etc., but I'd simply ignored them thinking that if he were so great a guitarist, surely he'd not write "Wonderland." Yeah, yeah, I know, "great guitarist," etc., etc.
Or maybe it was the similarity to Dave Matthews, vocally, that also turned me off - I'm not going to be one of those who rips on the Dave Matthews Band, I think they're a fine band who turned out some great songs, but at some point I just seemed to move on. I think I simply overdosed on him years ago to the point that I just don't seem to be able to really stomach their music anymore. It happens.
Or maybe it's the banal, grasping-at-the-charts qualities I found in what little of his music I admit that I'd heard . . . until recently, when I heard "Gravity," a live version, playing somewhere and it somehow sunk in that this tender little blues song, filled with incredible, nuanced guitar playing, some of the finest guitar playing I've heard in a while, in fact - the kind of stuff that leaves indelible marks on your soul and begs you to play it again, and again - had sold me. It was one of those moments where I was caught listening to everything - the lyrics, simple and yet yearning and thoughtful enough to mean something, and maybe more than they might seem at first; the backing band tight and responsive, like a good blues band should be; but mostly that guitar - notes squirting and flitting here and there in a perfect call-and-response, so barely under control. All the elements that make for great guitar listening. I was hooked. On John freaking Mayer? No, no, this can't be. But it was.