John Mayall

At 88, John Mayall is in fine form as his distinctive reedy vocals, multi-instrumental prowess, unerring ear for talent, and energizing spirit take centre stage on The Sun Is Shining Down. Long-time rhythm section Greg Rzab (bass) and Jay Davenport (drums) anchor the album’s 10 songs. Guest guitarists ex-Heartbreaker Mike Campbell, genre-bending phenomenon Marcus King, Americana pillar Buddy Miller, Chicago touchstone Melvin Taylor, and Texas spitfire Carolyn Wonderland play like veteran Bluesbreakers (Mayall’s longtime band). Violin virtuoso Scarlet Rivera and Hawaiian ukulele ace Jake Shimabukuro supply tonal variety. From the opening “Hungry and Ready” playful poke at the downside of life to the closing title track’s sentimental statement of gratitude, this is the kind of album that makes people lifelong fans of blues music. The legendary Godfather of British Blues has a sound worth listening to and an attitude worth emulating.

-Ken Wright