Stop This Train Guitar Lesson

Live in LA

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I see this song as a bridge in John Mayer’s style. It is the beginning of what I see as being his ‘new style’ that developed after Continuum. Even the songs on Continuum have a tendency to be a lot more down-tempo than his early records; still there is an affinity for the ideas of Gospel and Soul that still lingers on this record. The way John handles these slower songs with such immense security gives this record an understated and yet moving vitality. This song is clearly not intended to be a catchy radio single, yet John’s fans have a devotion to this song that is unmistakable. I think part of the reason is because there is a genuine sincerity and vulnerability to the subject matter. John does many things well, but I don’t think he doesn’t have a gift for writing outside himself. Anything you hear in his songs is clearly about him and his life. That’s part of what makes this song so disarming. He’s clearly not trying to flatter himself with a catchy hook or a display of seductive storytelling. It’s a song about coping with pain, and the style is one that could only belong to John.

In the Stop This Train guitar lesson, I think of this as being a more advanced ¼ note groove song. It fits the tempo profile of most quarter note groove songs, but the demands of the intricate fingerpicking are a marker that can’t be missed. There is some twisty arpeggiation in the accompaniment, and there’s a tricky bit where you have to sing the melody while you are playing it in the guitar part. That’s a little tricky. I suppose it would be trickier if you had to play one melody and sing another….oh wait, variation after the bridge. Yeah we’ve come full circle to “Oh crap this is a tricky tune.” It’s not the trickiest we will encounter, but we’ve officially crossed the line from playing helper tunes into the land of ‘genuinely impress people with your skill’ songs.