Paradise Valley

Paradise Valley

by John Mayer


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John Mayer's 2013 album, the Americana-tinged Paradise Valley, is an introspective if somewhat more upbeat affair than his similarly country-inflected 2012 release, Born and Raised. With that album, Mayer was coming off a rough career patch that found him issuing a mea culpa for an infamously loose-lipped 2010 Rolling Stone interview. Making matters worse, in 2011 the singer/songwriter announced he would be going on extended hiatus from performing while he received treatment for granulomas found near his vocal cords. Subsequently, with Born and Raised, Mayer moved away from the commercial pop of 2010's Battle Studies and toward an intimate, largely acoustic, '70s Laurel Canyon-inspired sound with songs that featured plenty of apologetic soul-searching. Named after the Montana river valley where Mayer owns a cabin and spends much of his time when not touring, Paradise Valley continues in this more intimate country-folk style and often feels less like a stand-alone album and more like a companion piece to Born and Raised. Which isn't to say it's a lesser work. On the contrary, Paradise Valley actually hangs together better than Born and Raised, with songs that achieve a balance between Mayer's electric Eric Clapton influence and his softer James Taylor-inspired side. Although his self-imposed period of supplication seems to have ended, Mayer still has plenty of troubles on his mind. Whether comparing his life on the road to the life of an old girlfriend he webstalks online, as he does on "Dear Marie," or struggling with his wanderlust and inability to call one place home, as he does on "Badge and Gun," Mayer is clearly still struggling with some of life's bigger issues. As he sings to his old girlfriend on "Dear Marie," "Yeah I got that dream, but you got yourself a family." It's this knack for turning his personal worries into universally relatable ones that helps Mayer avoid coming off as too self-absorbed and entitled. It is also this ability that helps him finesse "Paper Doll" from simply being a nasty swipe at rumored onetime paramour Taylor Swift (Swift purportedly wrote the song "Dear John" after being dumped by Mayer) into a superbly crafted and gorgeous song about romancing someone more emotionally vulnerable than yourself. Elsewhere, Mayer delivers a soulful rendition of J.J. Cale's "Call Me the Breeze" -- the most straightforward blues cut on the album -- and delves into two synergistic duets, the first with on-and-off girlfriend Katy Perry on "Who You Love" and the second with R&B auteur Frank Ocean on "Wildfire." That Mayer fails to cite country legend Ernest Tubb as the inspiration for "You're No One 'Til Someone Lets You Down," which basically cribs the melody from Tubb's "Walking the Floor Over You," might seem more of an oversight if he hadn't made it so obvious from the start that he was clearly drawing from the deep well of country music's past on Paradise Valley. Ultimately, whether it's Tubb's honky tonk twang, or the twang of Mayer's own heart, the sound of Paradise Valley rings true.

Product Details

Release Date: 08/20/2013
Label: Sony
UPC: 0888837564823
catalogNumber: 375648

Album Credits

Performance Credits

John Mayer   Primary Artist,Horn
Lisa Fischer   Background Vocals
Bernard Fowler   Background Vocals
Paul Franklin   Pedal Steel Guitar
Gary Grant   Flugelhorn
Dan Higgins   Flute,Tenor Saxophone
Rami Jaffee   Keyboards
Chuck Leavell   Keyboards
Sean Hurley   Bass
David Ryan Harris   Background Vocals
William Frank "Bill" Reichenbach   Bass Trombone,Tenor Trombone
Larry Williams   Flute,Horn,Tenor Saxophone
Aaron Sterling   Percussion,Drums
Zane Carney   Guitar
Frank Ocean   Vocals,Wurlitzer

Technical Credits

J.J. Cale   Composer
Don Was   Producer
Allen Ditto   Engineer
John Mayer   Composer,Producer
Chad Franscoviak   Engineer
Michael McDonald   Executive Producer,Management
René Martínez   Guitar Techician
Katy Perry   Composer
Christopher Breaux   Composer
Mark Bengtson   Pro-Tools

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Paradise Valley 3.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 4 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This kid is amazing, honestly, he puts so much into his work and you just have to sit back and enjoy the auditory ride.
RobbieBobby44 More than 1 year ago
Heard this in a store the other day. One song includes the vocal line (sung more than once) "I'm a little lost at sea, I'm a little birdy in a big ol' tree." People, John Mayer is in his mid-30s - and he is, as noted at the top of this page, a multi-platinum seller. He should just stick to playing guitar and NOT WRITING LYRICS.