Charlie Worsham & Famous Friends Cover John Mayer for a Good Cause
For the third consecutive Monday this month, Charlie Worsham hosted a benefit concert for his Follow Your Heart Scholarship Fund, which provides guitars and lessons to children in his home state of Mississippi. All the proceeds raised from his sold-out show at Nashville’s Basement East on Monday (July 17) as part of his Every Damn Monday residency went to the organization.
“By being here tonight, you’re helping kids get guitars and guitar lessons in rural Mississippi,” Worsham told the packed venue several songs into his set. After witnessing Worsham’s impressive guitar playing throughout the night, it was easy to see why this is a cause close to his heart.
Each Monday throughout July, Worsham has a new theme to his show. Last night marked his second annual John Mayerathon where for over 90 minutes some of country music’s most talented artists shared the stage with Worsham to cover their favorite John Mayer song. Lady Antebellum’s Charles Kelley, Hunter Hayes, Lindsay Ell, Steve Moakler, Seth Ennis and Devin Dawson were some of the surprise guests who graced the stage.
The set list spanned Mayer’s catalogue as each artist reinterpreted a track by the “In the Blood” singer. From early hits like the sultry “Your Body Is A Wonderland,” performed by Seth Ennis, and “No Such Thing,” covered by Worsham — both from Mayer’s 2001 debut album Room For Squares — to more obscure gems like “Walt Grace’s Submarine Test, January 1967,” the night was an eclectic one that had avid JM fans singing along word for word.
The night included several memorable collaborations, too. Before Kelley’s performance, he noticed Hayes side stage and invited him to join in for the soulful “Vultures” off Mayer’s excellent 2006 release, Continuum.
“Can Hunter join?” Kelley asked the backing band. “We have Hunter Hayes back there. I just put Hunter Hayes on the spot. I have a feeling he knows this.”
The performance of “Vultures” showcased Kelley’s impressive falsetto while Hayes and Worsham stood beside him and traded guitar riffs. Hayes would return to the stage later in the night for a jaw-dropping rendition of the guitar-heavy “Who Did You Think I Was.” Demonstrating his impressive handiwork, Hayes’ blues side came out while he and Worsham took part in a minute-long instrumental interlude that rivaled Mayer’s guitar slinging.
Ell and Ennis shared the stage together as well when they alternated between verses for “Who You Love,” Mayer’s 2013 duet with Katy Perry. Ell would stick around to follow with the memorable “Slow Dancing In A Burning Room.”
“If you can pick a favorite Mayer song, which I don’t even know is possible, this is mine,” she said before playing the song. The slow jam highlighted Ell’s prowess at the guitar as she put her own distinct style on the track. “Guitar slinging. Badass singing,” Worsham raved of Ell following her performance.
Additional highlights included Dawson’s animated cover of “Assassin” with a commanding stage presence. Moakler also shared the stage with Worsham to play “Half of My Heart,” which originally featured Taylor Swift on harmonies. Worsham let the crowd know that unfortunately the country darling turned pop star wouldn’t be in attendance.
Regardless, Moakler held his own on the sweet ballad as his mesmerizing voice entranced concertgoers. Another striking number went to songwriter Abe Stoklasa for his near perfect interpretation of “Neon” as his vocals were eerily reminiscent to Mayer’s.
“Every new Mayerathon I have a newfound appreciation for his guitar playing,” Worsham later said.
At the close of the evening, each artist returned to the stage for a joint sing-along of “Daughters,” 2005’s Grammy Song of the Year. If Mayer was in attendance he would have no doubt been impressed by each artist’s interpretation of his music, especially Worsham, who spent the entire night replicating every guitar lick heard and beloved throughout Mayer’s lengthy catalog.
Charlie Worsham’s next Every Damn Monday concert will be held on July 24 at the Basement East and the theme will be Bluegrass Night.