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Out of the studio John Mayer is something of a card, squiring celebrity girlfriends (Taylor Swift, Jennifer Aniston, Jessica Simpson, currently Katy Perry) and shooting his mouth off in interviews, most notoriously a 2010 Playboy piece in which he made unwise comments about race and sex. But place a guitar in his hands and an odd transformation takes place – the rogue represses himself into a polished, personable blues-rocker, the very acme of inoffensiveness.

Paradise Valley continues with the slick Laurel Canyon Americana of last year’s Born and Raised, all deft country-rock licks and smooth vocals. In fact Mayer’s voice has never been so smooth; surgery for a throat condition has left him sounding husky and laid-back, which contributes to his album’s neatly executed, unhurried charm.

John Mayer

Paradise Valley

(Columbia)

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