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Two geniuses to help spark some creativity of your own 3 min read
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Two geniuses to help spark some creativity of your own

The first post can be a scary thing, as it sets a tone for what’s to come. The gist of this project is to share things that I find, among other things, worthwhile, interesting, thought-provoking, sweet, funny, edifying, sad, poignant, well-written, visually stunning, pleasing to the ear, unique, and

By Cary Littlejohn
Two geniuses to help spark some creativity of your own Post image

The first post can be a scary thing, as it sets a tone for what’s to come. The gist of this project is to share things that I find, among other things, worthwhile, interesting, thought-provoking, sweet, funny, edifying, sad, poignant, well-written, visually stunning, pleasing to the ear, unique, and any other manner of things.

As this is ultimately a creative endeavor, I thought I would start there: creativity. There are numerous things I could highlight, but I’ll limit it to the best thing I watched today. In this video, John Mayer, performing in Nashville, TN, welcomes onstage Chris Stapleton, who’s such a hot item in the recording industry right now that any performer worth his or her salt would be well-advised to invite him up on stage to do a number, and the two debut a new song.

The video, posted by the Jonathan Pierce Band, reveals the origin of the song: a text from Mayer asking Stapleton to join him for a song. Before going any further, how cool must it be to be famous? To just have the power to message someone else at the height of their creative powers, and just say, “Hey, I’d love for you to sit in tonight.” And for it to happen! When asking whose song they should perform, Mayer said that Stapleton suggested they could just write a new song. “Challenge accepted,” Mayer said.

“I Just Remembered That I Didn’t Care” is the result, barely a day old at the time of this performance. The duo then performs a Mayer classic, and it’s one of the only times I’ve ever been okay with the thought of someone else having written and performed that song. A few things I love:

  • Mayer’s telling of the story/introduction of Stapleton
  • Stapleton’s verse, which seals the deal on the effectiveness of the collaboration. Mayer’s verse is solid, his delivery perfectly on brand, but it does not reveal what the song will be in its entirety, at its conclusion. When he finishes the first line, the Nashville crowd erupts, feeling, no doubt, the same thing I’m failing to describe in words here. His voice, the power, the soul…it gives me chills.
  • The groovy little riff before Mayer starts the bridge, starting at about 3:00 in the video. The big screen shows Stapleton looking around like, “Would you listen to that?!” A performer just enjoying what he’s a part of creating. When Mayer actually starts singing, the camera lingers on Stapleton, and you can clearly seeing him mouthing the words quietly to himself as he follows Mayer through the bridge. What a feeling that must be— literally no one else on earth could mouth those lyrics, no one in the crowd could sing along because that’s how new it was. In fact, that may be what makes the video so much fun to watch—no crowd singing over the performers.
  • The small solo Mayer breaks out at the 4:10 mark. It’s soulful but restrained. He doesn’t make a meal out of this new song, which is a beautiful version of his playing that’s matured and developed beyond the endless virtuosic blues riffs of nearly 20 years ago.
  • The David Ryan Harris extended intro into “Slow Dancing in a Burning Room” that’s been a part of live shows for some time now. If you’ve been sleeping on DRH, shame on you; he’s brilliant.
  • The first chorus of SDIABR, where Stapleton is finding his feet with material probably best known to him from the radio. But once he finds his footing, watch out. And then he proceeds to simply crush the second verse.
  • Because I’m an old school fan of Mayer and would listen to him solo for days on end, the 9:10 mark and 10:56 mark, respectively…just shoot it straight into my veins.
  • And finally, the soul of Stapleton’s line— “Don’t you think we should have learned somehow?” — at 10:44…I stand corrected; just shoot this straight into my veins, please and thank you.

Final PSA for anyone out there: catch John Mayer on tour right now.