TELL ME NONESUCH RECORDS 3.5/5
21-year-old Jessica Mayfield has a lot going for her. Mayfield’s airy, wistful vocal style sits nicely on top of mournful pedal steel melodies. It’s a match for her guileless and cheeky lyrics, such as the brazen couplet on the track “Sometimes At Night”: “I broke the little cabana boy’s heart /to let you fondle me in the dark.” But for all of Mayfield’s strengths, her sophomore album is a bit patchy. It starts off strong with songs like the lilting “Our Hearts Are Wrong” but gets bogged down in the middle with a few flimsy tunes you’d be hard pressed to recall, even after repeated listens. At times, the country/folk musician’s light-as-a-feather voice would benefit from some low end to anchor it down; producer Dan Auerbach (of the Black Keys) would have been just the guy to supply it.
Some critics seem to be in a hurry to anoint Mayfield the next Lucinda Williams. That praise feels premature.
[Review appears in the Feb 10th issue of prairie dog.]