Blues singer and songwriter John Mayall has honed his music craft for 70 years and shows no sign of slowing down. He will bring his band of Texas and Chicago musicians, with Rocky Athas on guitar, Greg Rzab on bass, and Jay Davenport on drums, to play an intimate concert at the Tobin Center for the Performing Arts on Saturday, June 25 as part of the Tobin Studio Sessions. Born in Cheshire, England in 1933, Mayall inherited an interest in jazz, blues, and boogie-woogie from his father, Murray Mayall, who played trombone and guitar and collected old brittle 78 RPM records from the United States. Listening to a variety of American bluesmen paid off for Mayall, who plays the guitar, piano, organ, and harmonica. “I’ve been making music since I was 12 or 13,” Mayall told the Rivard Report during a recent phone interview. As far as major music influences in his life, he said, “there’s too many to discuss.” While British youth subcultures Mods and Rockers battled each other for supremacy in the early 1960s British musical landscape, Mayall stood apart. “I was neither,” he said.
The list of musicians who have performed with Mayall reads like a who’s who of the blues. More than 50 years ago, a young Eric Clapton left the Yardbirds to join up with John Mayall & the Bluesbreakers. Buddy Guy Otis Rush, Albert Collins, Albert King, Peter Green, Mick Taylor, Mick Fleetwood, John McVie, and hundreds of other legends also have shared the stage with Mayall, who is humble about his numerous, noteworthy collaborations.