John Mayall Schedules Tour, Album After Health Scare

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Photo of John Mayall: Jeff Fasano

Great news for John Mayall. The reigning king of British blues is now sufficiently recovered from a serious illness that he performed several concerts in November and has scheduled a full European tour starting in February 2019, with an ambitious itinerary built for someone decades younger. (See below.)

A new studio album, loaded with guest stars, was announced on Nov. 20. Nobody Told Me arrives February 22, 2019 via Forty Below Records and features appearances by a diverse group of guest guitarists:

Todd Rundgren, Little Steven Van Zandt of the E Street Band, Alex Lifeson from Rush, Joe Bonamassa, Larry McCray and Carolyn Wonderland who will be joining the band on tour. Also, on hand are Mayall’s Chicago rhythm section of Greg Rzab on bass guitar and Jay Davenport on drums, along with Billy Watts on rhythm guitar and Mayall’s regular horn section, moonlighting from their day job in The Late Show with Conan O’Brien’s house band.

Listen to “Distant Lonesome Train” from the new album, below.

Mayall’s Facebook page announced he “is healthy and ready to get back on the road,” as the legend is sufficiently recovered from pneumonia. He turned 85 on November 29.

On May 25, Mayall revealed that the remainder of his shows in May and June had been canceled “due to needing continued medical care after a bout of pneumonia.”

On June 16, his Facebook page noted: “Thank you to all of you who have been sending your good wishes to John for his recovery! He has certainly had a tough time with his health in the last few weeks and has been very ill, but we are happy to report he is now on the road to recovery. However, we have consulted John’s physicians and been advised that he should not be performing for a while, so we have reluctantly decided to cancel his upcoming August and September dates. As soon as John is fit and well and has been cleared by his doctors, he is looking forward to getting back to doing what he loves to do; playing the blues! At that time we will do our best to reschedule as many of the cancelled shows as possible.”

John Mayall in the late ’60s (Photo from his Facebook page)

His October 17 Facebook announcement noted: “John can’t wait to get back out there and bring you the blues as only he can.” He’ll be joined on his dates by his long time bandmates Greg Rzab and Jay Davenport and featuring Carolyn Wonderland on guitar.

Mayall’s Facebook page wrote on May 25: “We are very sorry to announce that John Mayall has to reschedule his upcoming May/June shows due to needing continued medical care after a bout of pneumonia. For those of you who have bought tickets, refunds will be available where the tickets were purchased. John loves his fans and is sorry to disappoint you, but is looking forward to seeing you soon at a venue near you. In the meantime, your prayers and good vibes are much appreciated!”

Among the many classic rock guitarists who played in Mayall’s early bands were Eric Clapton, Peter Green and Mick Taylor.

Watch Mayall perform on May 5, 2018 at the Blue Note in Honolulu

The classic 1966 Blues Breakers with Eric Clapton album

In Best Classic Bands’ 2017 interview with Mayall, the musician was asked “You’re still so active, especially onstage. What do you do to keep yourself in such great shape?”

“I think it’s my obligation to give the audience a full-on show with all the energy I can muster,” he said. “I don’t really have a clue why it happens but I’ll just keep on doing it. For me it’s a big thrill to communicate with audiences and give them what they expect.”

Best Classic Bands asked Mayall if he thought Clapton, Green and Taylor were “game-changers” when he first heard them. “Well, yeah, the fact that I hired them means I knew they had something special,” he replied. “There was something that set them apart from other guitar players on the scene.”

Watch John Mayall and old pal Eric Clapton performing together again in 2012

The new album was produced by Mayall and Forty Below Records founder Eric Corne at The Foo Fighters’ Studio 606 on the same legendary Sound City Neve console his one-time protégés from Fleetwood Mac used to record the best-selling Rumours album.

Born on November 29, 1933, Mayall became enamored of blues and jazz early in his life, and he was already performing blues in public by the late ’50s and early ’60s. The singer/songwriter/guitarist/keyboardist and harmonica player released his debut album, John Mayall Plays John Mayall, in 1965, but it wasn’t until Mayall hired a young guitarist named Eric Clapton away from the Yardbirds that his own band, the Bluesbreakers (sometimes spelled Blues Breakers), began getting noticed on a larger scale.

John Mayall 2019 Tour Dates (Tickets are available here and here)

Feb 26 – Tampere, Finland – Pakkahuone
Feb 27 – Helsinki, Finland – Cirkus
Mar 01 – Stockholm, Sweden – Nalen Stora Salen
Mar 02 – Malmo, Sweden – Slagthuset
Mar 03 – Oslo, Norway – Rockefeller
Mar 04 – Gothenburg, Sweden – Pustervik
Mar 05 – Rodovre, Denmark – Kulturhuset Viften
Mar 06 – Aarhus, Denmark – Train
Mar 08 – Osnabruck, Germany – Rosenhof
Mar 09 – Cologne, Germany – Die Kantine
Mar 10 – Aschaffenburg, Germany – Colos-Saal
Mar 12 – Hamburg, Germany – Die Fabrik in Altona
Mar 13 – Berlin, Germany – Columbia Theater
Mar 14 – Halle, Germany – Georg-Friedrich-Handel-Halle
Mar 15 – Prague, Czech Republic – Forum Karlin
Mar 17 – Warsaw, Poland – Klub Stodola
Mar 18 – Krakow, Poland – Klub Studio
Mar 20 – Vienna, Austria – Porgy & Bess
Mar 21 – Graz, Austria – Dom Im Berg
Mar 22 – Udine, Italy – Teatro Nuovo Giovanni da Udine
Mar 24 – Ancona, Italy – Teatro Delle Muse
Mar 25 – Florence, Italy – Teatro Obihall
Mar 26 – Rome, Italy – Auditorium Parco della Musica
Mar 27 – Genoa, Italy – Teatro Politeama
Mar 28 – Trento, Italy – Auditorium Santa Chiara
Mar 29 – Parma, Italy – Campus Industry Music
Mar 30 – Fontaneto D’Agogna, Italy – Pala Phenomenon
Apr 02 – Strasbourg, France – La Laiterie
Apr 03 – Lille, France – Le Splendid
Apr 04 – Bochum, Germany – Zeche
Apr 05 – Nuremberg, Germany – Hirsch
Apr 07 – Stuttgart, Germany – Im Wizemann
Apr 08 – Munich, Germany – Muffathalle
Apr 09 – Zurich, Switzerland – Volkshaus
Apr 11 – Paris, France – Le Bataclan
Apr 12 – Borgerhout, Belgium – De Roma
Apr 13 – Haarlem, Netherlands – Patronaat
Apr 14 – Groningen, Netherlands – De Oosterpoort
Apr 16-18 – London, U.K. – Ronnie Scott’s

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