From KCRW Volunteer Taryn Olsen

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I first heard about Jessica Lea Mayfield in an interview on NPR.  At the tender age of 21, Jessica completely enchanted me in her interview and conducted herself with maturity beyond her years as she spoke of growing older and being “less susceptible to heartache” even though she admitted to being a magnet for bad dudes.

For weeks afterward I fielded calls here at the station from people wanting to know about the singer that was featured during “that show this weekend” on NPR. It seemed she had taken an entire listenership and made everybody sit up and take notice.

Jessica Lea Mayfield may be young but she’s no spring chicken in the world of music. That metaphor carries particular weight for a girl with bluegrass musician Doyle Lawson’s name tattooed on her wrist (Doyle is also the namesake for her cat too, so cute). She explained that the songs of heart ache that she sings are deeply influenced by her beginnings in gospel and bluegrass quartets with her family in her childhood.

Without question Jessica’s songs are heavy. We featured Jessica at one of our SXSW Showcases with Filter Magazine this year and this morning she opened her Morning Becomes Eclectic set with one of my favorite songs of the moment, “Our Hearts are Wrong.” The heart wrenching honesty in lyrics like the one pointed out by Jason Bentley, “the only time I miss you is every single day,” can only begin to describe the truth captured by the talent of Jessica’s live performance.

The entire set this morning felt other-worldly, despite being grounded in very real emotion. The fluidity with which Jessica described her writing process (writing sometimes several songs a day when she returns home after touring) and the noticeable calm with which she eased herself from song to song gave the whole 45 minutes a feeling of liquidity – like we were being led down a river of sound,  out of a heart break and into catharsis.

Dan Auerbach of The Black Keys took Jessica under his wing after hearing a little EP recorded by a fifteen-year-old Jessica and her brother in her brother’s bedroom. Dan Auerbach went on to produce her first LP, “With Blasphemy So Heartfelt,” and Jessica expressed gratitude for the major amount of idea sharing that Dan gave to her newest release, “Tell Me.” She is currently touring with this album and KCRW Presents her tonight for a not to be missed show at The Troubadour.

Jessica Lea Mayfield live on KCRW

Our Hearts Are Wrong


Sometimes At Night


I’ll Be The One That You Want Someday

Run Myself Into The Ground

Somewhere In Your Heart

>Interview

Blue Skies Again

Kiss Me Again

Grown Man

For Today

Trouble


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  • Alan

    You know, Taryn, I liked some of Miss Mayfield's songs so I checked out a local show as she was touring through Santa Fe, NM. Maybe it was an off night or maybe Jessica Lea Mayfield just hasn't developed her "stage presence" but her performance was listless; however, I did like the guitarist's work and the sounds he blended with her voice. I just wasn't enchanted as you say…
    Thanks, for the video, though, and appreciate the post

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