Bringing Back the Blues


Oftentimes, a musician’s contributions to the world of music are measured by their catalog. In John Mayall’s case, a five decade career has produced an extraordinary number of blues records. As the founding member of John Mayall & the Bluesbreakers and as a solo artist, Mayall has a discography that includes over 30 studio and live albums. However, the musical acts that Mayall has inspired are another part of his legacy. Eric Clapton, Fleetwood Mac, and Cream are just a few of the acts that might not have happened without the influence of the 82-year-old “Godfather of British Blues.”

Photo by Jeff Fasano

Photo by Jeff Fasano

With five decades of music under his belt, Mayall is still blazing new trails. With an upcoming tour and an album set to be released next year, the legend is still finding new and exciting ways to bring the blues to audiences.

“It never really went out of style,” Mayall said in a phone interview. “Whenever someone comes into the scene and makes a splash, people just start paying more attention.”

For Mayall, the blues allows him to create a diary of what is happening in his life at a certain point in time.

“Blues allows you to express yourself emotionally, regardless of who you are and what you have been through.”

The diverse fan base that blues brings is evident when you look out at the audience at a Mayall concert. According to Mayall, this trend has been consistent throughout his career.

“They’ve always come in all shapes and sizes,” Mayall said. “Different age groups still come along.”

In terms of audience and venue size, Mayall says “it doesn’t really make much difference, as long as the audience is enthusiastic.”

While many artists who have found the longevity that Mayall has feel pressured to continue making more of the same, Mayall has always felt free to make what he thinks needs to be made.

“I’ve always had the freedom to do what I wanted. I picked guys for my band that I thought had the right sound and vision.”

Hoosiers will have a chance to see Mayall do what he does best when he and his band perform at The Warehouse on September 29.

This show will not only be an opportunity to hear songs from Mayall’s latest album Find A Way To Care, but audiences will also see the new makeup of Mayall’s live band.

After weather conditions forced guitarist Rocky Athas to miss a festival show in Dallas, Mayall found he was able to “explore new territories” as a trio.

“We’ve only played a couple of shows as a trio, but we’ll be very busy up till Christmas,” Mayall explained. “We’re very excited about the change and what it may bring. We’ll be coming your way and ready to rock out.”

This new territory is just one of the changes that Mayall has seen on the road since the beginning of his career.

“Well, technically equipment changes and sound systems change. Those are very different from the early days. Technology today gives you a lot more freedom to communicate. There is instant access through internet. In the 1960s, you really only reached people who were interested in a specific type of music.”

Despite spending over half his life making music, Mayall is still finding new opportunities to make new sounds and pay tribute to the musicians that inspired him.

His latest album contains tracks previously recorded by blues legends such as Muddy Waters, as well as songs written by Mayall.

“Making new music comes from a genuine passion and interest in the music. The reason we’re reaching generation after generation is that the blues allows you to talk about different themes that people all share and relate to. That’s what I love about it.”
 

For ticket information on John Mayall’s upcoming show at The Warehouse, visit: http://liveforthemusic.com/