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Sunday, October 28, 2012

John Mayer & Le Roc des Anges Segna Cor

John Mayer, born October 15, 1977, is the fourth in my series on “Blue Phenoms Born in the 70s.” He was raised in Fairfield Connecticut with an English teacher for a mother and a high school principal for a father. When he saw Marty McFly play the guitar in the movie Back to the Future, he became fascinated with the instrument and ended up taking lessons from a local guitar shop owner. It didn’t take long before the instrument consumed him.

After two years of practice, while still in high school, he started playing at blues bars and other venues in the area. But when he was seventeen, he was stricken with a cardiac arrhythmia and was hospitalized briefly. The tense situation birthed the songwriter in him and he penned his first song when he was discharged. Unfortunately, the realization of his mortality led to his suffering from panic attacks and he lived in fear of being committed to a mental institution. To this day, he has to carefully manage his phobias.

He considered skipping high school to pursue music, but the flak from his parents stopped him from doing so and he entered Berklee College of Music in Boston at the age of 19. But at the urging of Clay Cook, a friend, classmate, and Atlanta native, he left Berklee after two semesters and moved to Atlanta where he honed his skills as a guitarist, vocalist, and songwriter.  He rose to fame as a pop star, but in 2005, his first love, the blues, took hold and Mayer formed the John Mayer Trio with bassist Pino Palladino, one of the greatest session bassists in the business, and drummer Steve Jordan, a man with one of the most incredible senses of rhythm in the musical world. The trio played a combination of blues and rock music and in October 2005, opened for the Rolling Stones during a sold-out club tour of their own. That November, they released the Grammy nominated live album Try.

He’s a young kid who’s had a bit of growing up to do before he could become a man.
His controversial interviews to Playboy and Rolling Stone about Jessica Simpson and Jennifer Aniston brought considerable condemnation about an immature boy who was nothing short of a stereotypical frat guy bragging about his conquests. As a result, Mayer withdrew from public life. He later explained on the Ellen Degeneres show "I lost my head for a little while and I did a couple of dumb interviews and it kind of woke me up. It was a very strange time and it sort of rocketed me into adulthood. It was a violent crash into being an adult. For a couple of years, it was just figuring it all out, and I'm glad I actually stayed out of the spotlight.” The jury’s still out on whether or not he’s figured it out, but one thing is for sure: he’s a heck of a guitarist.

Saturday I mentioned that one of my favorite wineries was Le Roc des Anges, owned by Marjorie Gallet. Her husband Stephane is a wizard of enology and is the one who has concocted tonight’s ambrosia, namely their 2011 Segna Cor, a blend of Grenache, Carignan, and Syrah. Its color is dark ruby red with an aroma of black raspberry and wild flowers while the palate is loaded with dark berries, spices, and dark chocolate. It’s a rich, sweet wine with fine-grained tannins and a lingering finish. I must confess, this is my favorite wine in the world and at $25.00 a bottle, it’s spectacular, perfect for the music of one of today’s great blues guitarists.


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