Viewer Mail: John vs. Jon



Dear Chad,

Me and a friend were discussing the overall performance and skills of both John Mayer and Jonny Lang.  I feel both are very skilled at their craft with Jonny Lang having the slight edge in playing skill on his axe. My friend feels Mr. Mayer is a really good singer, with ok skills on the guitar.

 I stated that John Mayer was actually quite good at his guitar playing, in the league with Buddy Guy and Eric Clapton.  I also feel John Mayer has more fans due to his voice, and looks, not to mention Twitter, FB and all other forms of media he uses.  I personally like both the feel Mr. Lang’s passion and energy in his voice and music.  What’s your take on this debate?


Well, fellas the answer to this question can become kind of complicated, especially, if you try to compare both men skill for skill. Actually, I don’t really think it’s realistic to go that route.

However, I think if you’re going to have the debate at all, it’s essential that you start with each man’s chosen genre of music. If they are both in the same category, then comparisons become slightly easier. Unfortunately, with Mayer and Lang we don’t have that luxury. While Mayer does have his roots in blues and does quite a bit in this genre, he is primarily a pop artist and that is where his overall fame as both a player and singer/ songwriter derives. Conversely, Lang has built a name for himself as a blues artist not a pop artist, even though, some of his stuff has crossed over into that realm.

Personally, I think both men are equally skilled in their chosen genre and each would have difficulty walking in the other man’s shoes precisely. Let’s face it; John is a phenomenal player. But I don’t take anything away from him because his genre is pop music. Lang on the other hand is just as skilled in both disciplines (singer songwriter and player). He’s just different. So, for me, it’s not a matter of who has more substance with these two. It’s more a matter of stylistic difference and personal preference. I was reading a thread on YouTube a while ago and some “unedumacated” moron had the absence of mind to say that Mayer was just a pretty boy with no real talent. Naturally, I wrote him the riot act for making such a stupid comment.  Apparently, the guy had never even listened to Mayer beyond his immediate pop success. Anyway, who’s better? Neither of you will like my answer….the measure of who’s better, here, is just a matter of taste. I happen to like Mayer better. But I don’t think my personal preference in any way diminishes Lang’s skill as both a master blues guitarist or singer/songwriter. Both men are musical and artistic geniuses in their own right and both have touched me with their art. I just happen to like Mayer better. But that preference certainly doesn’t mean that Lang is any less a master of his craft.


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