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by Justin Farrar

May 22, 2012

Artist Spotlight: John Mayer

by Justin Farrar  |  May 22, 2012

John Mayer's new album, Born and Raised, represents his most overt stab at a vintage-inspired rock sound. Sporting a new troubadour look that can rightly be tagged Buffalo Springfield meets L.L. Bean, the singer-songwriter ambles through a set of subtly rootsy folk rock that recalls the early-'70s Laurel Canyon mellow of J.D. Souther, Jackson Browne and Neil Young. Along the way he addresses all the tabloid gossip and controversy that he has brought upon himself in recent years. But as Mayer insists on the tune "Shadow Days": "I'm a good man with a good heart/ Had a tough time, got a rough start/ But I finally learned to let it go."

Born and Raised definitely represents a new direction for Mayer, yet it's one that he has flirted with through the years. As Rhapsody's Artist Spotlight proves, he has long been torn between playing the role of heartthrob pop pinup and an artist who craves entrance into rock 'n' roll's exclusive canon. As the former, he has wooed the ladies with romantic fodder like "Half of My Heart" and, of course, the radio smash "Your Body Is a Wonderland." As the latter, meanwhile, he has strapped on his axe and shared stages with Buddy Guy and Herbie Hancock. Mayer has also spent time honing his tasteful blues chops, as on the John Mayer Trio's Try!, a pivotal live album in his catalog.

Mayer is at his most unpredictable as collaborator. Having worked with everybody from Common to Fall Out Boy to the lovely Alicia Keys, he loves exploring the musical worlds that exist beyond pop and rock, including but not limited to hip-hop and R&B.

Explore the evolution of John Mayer -- troubadour, pop star, bluesy rocker, A-list cameo -- with the killer selection of studio albums and live records below.

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