Almost three years later, and he's returned a changed man, apparently. "I'm a good man, with a good heart/ Had a tough time, got a rough start/ But I finally learned to let it go," he insists on lead track 'Shadow Days' in a tone noticeably more hushed than his earlier work. Fortunately he sounds genuine, even if it's wrapped in a contrived package of faux vintage artwork, denim jackets and perfectly shaggy hair.
'Something Like Olivia' is one of the record's rare light-hearted moments, with the '70s Americana sound providing a sunny backdrop to Mayer's lyrics about the perfect woman who's already taken. It's a similar story on gentle folk number 'Speak For Me', where he longs for a return of the very sound he's attempting to crack here.
Given his voice is a perfect match for blues, the sensitive country cowboy routine is too hard to swallow, particularly on 'Love is a Verb' and 'Queen of California' (the latter wearing its Neil Young and Joni Mitchell influences on its sleeve a little too literally). The result on Born and Raised is a man who has undoubtedly changed, though it's not always for the better.
Tracks to download: 'Shadow Days', 'Age Of Worry', 'Speak For Me'
If you like this, you'll like: Jason Mraz, Jack Johnson
Watch the 'Shadow Days' music video below: