LIVE AT THE CITY WINERY
MARCH 8, 2016
Sometimes you just get incredibly lucky. We walked into Nashville’s City Winery on March 8, 2016, about an hour before showtime for John Mayall, and, lo and behold, there he sat–the Godfather Of British Blues was sitting at the merchandise table, and, for the moment, he was alone. We went up to him, introduced ourselves and congratulated him on his upcoming induction into the Blues Hall Of Fame. Sheryl worked the camera, and I had to ask him about his current band lineup–Rocky Athas on lead guitar, Greg Rzab on bass, and Jay Davenport on drums. John is so enamored of these men and their passion for not only his music, but the blues as a whole, that he touts them as his favorite band of all those he’s worked with, which includes Clapton, Peter Green, John Mcvie, and many others.
Promising us some “‘old ones, some new ones, and some old ones done up in a new way,” the fellows did not disappoint over the 90-minute set. Starting with “The Bear,” from one of his earliest albums, he showed his prowess on the harp, playing keyboards with his right hand and blowing harp with his left. Next up was a jazzy read of a Curtis Salgado tune, “Sum Of Somethin,” then a slow-burning “Dirty Water,” which featured John and Rocky in a note-for-note “duel” on guitars. John paid tribute to Chicago bluesman Sonny Boy Williamson, blowing a mean harp on “Help Me,” before returning to the keys for a mighty romp thru J. B. Lenoir’s “Voodoo Music.” He went back to his early-Seventies works for a socially-conscious look at the environment with “Nature’s Disappearing,” before closing with an original from his very first album, the Diddley-beat of “Chicago Line.” This one featured a solo from everyone, and band introductions.
At 82, John Mayall is just like those bottles of his namesake Cabernet Sauvignon that went on sale immediately after the show. Potent, powerful, and colorful, just like John Mayall, built to only get better with age! Until next time…Sheryl and Don Crow, The Nashville Blues Society.