John Mayall Collaboration Brings Rush’s Alex Lifeson Full Circle
John Mayall said Alex Lifeson felt "right at home with this special groove" on a new collaboration, and it's not just empty praise.
They've joined together on a cover of "Evil and Here to Stay," recalling a time when the legendary British bluesman's fingerprints were all over Rush's earliest music.
"We were fans of John Mayall's Bluesbreakers and that whole English scene," bandmate Geddy Lee told Classic Rock last November. "So we did the same thing, taking old blues standards like 'Born Under a Bad Sign.' We were just imitating our peers and, of course, the cover songs were always more popular than our badly written originals."
Lifeson's full-circle moment finds a home on Nobody Told Me, the first new Mayall album since 2017's Talk About That. It's due on Friday.
"One of the first songs Rush learned to play as a band in front of an audience was [the Bluesbreakers'] 'Snowy Wood' in 1968, so our influences go a long way back with John Mayall," Lifeson told Loudersound. "When I was asked to do this particular project I was actually quite thrilled by it. Long being an admirer of the many amazing guitar players that have been a part of the Bluesbreakers and to be considered in that esteemed group, I was very, very honored – and it's been a real pleasure."
"Snowy Wood" was co-written by future Rolling Stones legend Mick Taylor, one of a string of legendary ex-Mayall sidemen. For Nobody Told Me, Mayall is joined by Todd Rundgren ("That's What Love Will Make You Do"), Steve Van Zandt ("It's So Tough") and Joe Bonamassa ("What Have I Done Wrong"), among others.
Mayall's U.S. summer dates include a three-night stand at the Iridium in New York City. Those shows will be preceded by a European tour.