When John Mayer announced that his upcoming album Sob Rock was set to be released this year, we knew that the back-end of 2021 was going to be a stellar one for elite electric guitar exhibitions.
Aside from dropping his ‘80s-infused throwback bop Last Train Home and debuting it on Jimmy Kimmel Live!, Mayer's jam-packed schedule has also seen him join forces with Maren Morris for a blistering performance of The Bones at the Grammy Awards.
Now, the undisputed king of blues-pop has cropped up on yet another guest spot, this time treating JP Saxe’s soulful single Here’s Hopin' to a masterclass in guitar tone, improvisational explorations and musical chemistry during an appearance on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert.
The rendition itself ages like a fine wine, beginning as an infectious singer-songwriter anthem and blossoming into a soulful exhibition of colorful extended chords and exquisite guitar soloing.
Mayer’s own initial involvement is restricted to a slew of decorative blue-note-tinged bends that punctuate Saxe’s vocals, which gradually build in intensity and dynamics into a gorgeous solo complete with low-string flourishes, scale-based build-up runs, wailing melodies and a glorious half-bar pause that Mayer emphasizes with a B.B. King-esque single-note stab.
Just when we thought it couldn’t get any better, Mayer showcases a tone that seems to be even sweeter than ever, with his all-new pink Silver Sky reacting to his unrivaled touch and feel, singing out when pushed and dialing back when required.
Props must also be given to JP Saxe, whose oh-so stirring single sees him effortlessly transition between open-string, fretboard-spanning acoustic guitar chordal play and enveloping whirly organ sounds, all while giving Mayer free reign to do what he does best – absolutely go to town on the fretboard.
On Instagram prior to the performance, JP Saxe wrote, “Performing on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert tonight with John Mayer. Him having my back like this on the first week of my album release is one of the coolest, kindest and most generous things anyone’s ever done for me.
“I fell in love with songwriting in large part because of how his songs make me feel and now we get to do this song together just the two of us and holy shit I’m excited."