It's easy to rib John Mayer. Thousands have done it. The guy wrote the hit that made the lines "your body is a wonderland" into part of the vernacular — he owes us a little something.
But, spurred on, Mayer has humiliated and whipped himself in the press. Mayer is the soft-rock mega-hit-making guitar-hero heartthrob who's gotten to make music with members of the Grateful Dead and the Rolling Stones. He had a high-profile break-up with Katy Perry. How a guy who sort of has everything can make you feel sorry for him is a whole separate mystery, which might explain part of Mayer's success.
There's been a lot of therapy since all of that stuff, and his new record, "The Search for Everything," sounds like the soul-searching soft soul-pop of a man who's trying to come to terms with a lot of things. (He's also been outspoken about switching from booze to cannabis as a recreational activity.)
In the same way that Mayer was the student of and heir to artists like Eric Clapton and Stevie Ray Vaughan, he's inspired a whole new generation of soulful, romantic and earnest hit-making songwriters like Shawn Mendes and Ed Sheeran. Mayer is a guitar hero who pays proper tribute at the altar of the blues, but he's also a mellow soul crooner who has as much in common with Hall & Oates.
John Mayer plays at Xfinity Theatre, 61 Savitt Way, Hartford, Sunday, Aug. 20, at 7 p.m. $27 and up. livenation.com.