The Godfather of British Blues, John Mayall, has been nominated for a Grammy for 'Best Traditional Blues Album' for his 2022 release, The Sun Is Shining Down. The album, released by Forty Below Records on January 28, 2022, saw Mayall teaming up with a stellar cast to deliver a funky, soulful affair punctuated by brass, violins, harmonica, and electric ukulele.
Special guests include The Heartbreakers’ Mike Campbell, roots rocker Marcus King, Americana icon Buddy Miller, Scarlet Rivera of Bob Dylan’s Rolling Thunder Revue, Chicago blues guitar mainstay Melvin Taylor and Hawaiian ukulele star Jake Shimabukuro. Also on hand is Mayall’s longtime dynamic Chicago rhythm section of Greg Rzab on bass guitar and Jay Davenport on drums with Austin’s multi-talented and charismatic Carolyn Wonderland on guitar.
Mayall's single "Chills And Thrills" made its debut in Rolling Stone Magazine. They called it "a stomper that barrels down the blues-rock highway, fueled by Campbell’s lead guitar." Check it out here. "I'm as Good as Gone" had also been released as a single and was premiered exclusively in American Songwriter. Written by Grammy winner Bobby Rush, the track features the extraordinary fretwork of Buddy Miller and Mayall on Hammond B3 organ. Listen to it here.
The album was recorded at Strawhorse Studios and also at Robby Krieger’s (The Doors) Horse Latitudes studio with Grammy-nominated Producer Eric Corne. The Sun is Shining Down is Mayall’s 5th studio album for Forty Below Records, a fruitful partnership that began with 2014’s A Special Life.
" I’m truly honored to be nominated for a Grammy and couldn’t be more proud of this record" declared Mayall. And Eric Corne effused; "I think I speak for everyone involved when I say that being a part of a John Mayall Grammy nomination is an incredible honor and career highlight. The outpouring of kudos has been amazing to see. I think a lot of people are rooting for John and this special record. Winning a Grammy would be quite the exclamation mark to John's storied career."
The record explores a range of styles and eclectic instruments. Scarlet Rivera’s violin beautifully compliments two Mayall originals, the timely “Got to Find a Better Way” and a spirited reboot of the Mayall classic “Deep Blue Sea.” Mike Campbell sounds like a natural-born Bluesbreaker on the funky Bernard Allison cut “Chills and Thrills.” Jake Shimabukuro’s electric ukulele is nothing short of astonishing on “One Special Lady.” Melvin Taylor proves why he’s been wowing Chicago blues audiences for decades on “Hungry and Ready” and “Driving Wheel."
Marcus King sizzles throughout the soulful “Can’t Take No More,” another Mayall original that premiered by Relix last December. About the experience, King says: "John Mayall is a colossal blues titan; guesting on the album was one of the greatest pleasures and highlights of my career.” Finally, Carolyn Wonderland brilliantly concludes the record with a sensitive moving performance on the title track.
As significant as each of these guest turns is, however, they can’t overshadow Mayall’s own spirited vocals, iconic harmonica, and lyrical keyboard work on The Sun is Shining Down. “John shines throughout this album, exuding joy and gratitude that are infectious. We all want to give that back to him,” adds producer Eric Corne.
Also nominated for a Grammy in this field are Buddy Guy, Government Mule, Taj Mahal & Ry Cooder, and Charlie Musselwhite. The Grammys will take place on February 5, 2023.