Local Wire

Jessica Lea Mayfield

It hasn't been long since Jessica Lea Mayfield played the Rhythm Room. Only six months, actually. But things are a lot different for the singer-songwriter discovered by Black Keys singer Dan Auerbach. Since her gig opening for Annuals in Phoenix, she's had a South by Southwest coming-out party, opened for Ray LaMontagne, been featured on NPR, reviewed in the New York Times, and played Bonnaroo. The attention is well deserved. Mayfield's minor-key vocals have a mesmerizing effect, and her backing band has fully cultivated a sound that falls nothing short of hypnotic. The 19-year-old folk/blues/bluegrass songwriter hails from Kent, Ohio, just down the road from Auerbach's Akron. Her hometown is a quaint blend of hippie and hillbilly, so it's fitting that she sits somewhere between Gillian Welch and Neko Case. She's come a long way in the time since we first saw her, and we can only guess what she was like before that (her first EP was purportedly recorded in her brother's bedroom, and only 100 copies were printed). Her new album, produced by Auerbach, has a lo-fi feel that masks the richer, deeper sound of her live shows. Whichever sound she brings to Rhythm Room, this is a concert to see.
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Brian Bardwell