John Mayall & Joe Bonamassa Join Forces for 'What Have I Done Wrong': Premiere

David Gomez
John Mayall

John Mayall has worked with a few notable guitar players during the past six decades -- Eric Clapton, Peter Green, Mick Taylor and Harvey Mandel, just to name a few. And his latest album, Nobody Told Me, finds the British-born blues legend teaming with a few more, including Joe Bonamassa on "What Have I Done Wrong," premiering exclusively here

"That was the idea this time around, to get some guest guitar players on it," Mayall tells Billboard. "I hadn't really thought about it too much, and apparently as soon as they put the net out people responded very favorably and pretty instantly." In addition to Bonamassa, the list includes Rush's Alex Lifeson, Little Steven Van Zandt, Todd Rundgren, Larry McCray and Carolyn Wonderland. "It was a great surprise to me that they all wanted to play on it and kind of volunteer their services," Mayall says. "I hadn't made a list of who I wanted to play with; It was out of nowhere these great guys wanted to play something, even if I wouldn't have thought of them first-off, until they volunteered.

"I think it really stems from who I consider someone I can get along with, with their playing. It's hard to explain. It's instinct, but that's worked out well for me over the years."

Mayall -- who recorded the album at Dave Grohl's 606 studio -- was certainly familiar with Bonamassa, following him since he was a teen prodigy. "I've always admired his playing and the way he attacks the instrument," Mayall says. "He's been one of my favorite people to look out for." Others are more surprising, including Rundgren, who Mayall has crossed paths with over the years, and Lifeson, whose heavy and prog rock background hasn't demonstrated a great deal of blues acumen before. "We sent him the finished backing tracks and he just put his own interpretation onto it," Mayall says. "The fact that he wanted to do something like this, in the blues, who was I to say no? It's another unique side of him that probably people don't know."

Mayall says he's recovered from health concerns that limited his touring this year, and he plans to hit the road hard again during 2019, in conjunction with Nobody Told Me's Feb. 22 release. "It's the only time we've not done at least 100 shows in a year," says Mayall, who plans to start in Europe and be in North America closer to summer. "The gigs keep coming in, so who am I to say no to those? I've been very fortunate to have an audience worldwide that's allowed me to do exactly what I want to do rather than be dictated by pop or any other elements that are out there. So everything's great, and I'm looking forward to getting back on the road and doing it the way I like to again."