Jessica Lea Mayfield to play Mickey Finn’s PubWritten by Mike Bauman | | firstname.lastname@example.org
In the past year and a half, Jessica Lea Mayfield has played “Late Show with David Letterman,” performed at the Americana Music Awards and drawn praise from the likes of Rolling Stone and The New York Times for her latest album “Tell Me.” All this happened prior to the Kent, Ohio, native’s celebrating her 23rd birthday, which occurs later this month.
While all of the above might be impressive to fans, friends, family and outsiders, to Mayfield they’re just some of the more recent events in a life that’s never been devoid of music and the road. Her parents and older brother David traveled and played together as the family bluegrass band One Way Rider. She first performed with at the age of eight.
“For the better part of my childhood, we lived in a tour bus,” Mayfield said. “So I didn’t really have a bedroom; I had a bunk. I lived in a tour bus that was done by Bill Monroe. It was called ‘The Bluegrass Breakdown.’”
More than a decade later, Mayfield is a married woman who has released two full-length albums of her own and toured internationally. On Aug. 24, she’ll perform at Mickey Finn’s Pub.
“As far as making a name for myself goes, I really just want to be able to pay the bills, you know?” Mayfield said. “All I’ve ever done is play music. I’ve never had a day job or anything. My family has always supported itself that way, and since I’ve been a teenager that’s how I’ve supported myself, is through music.
“It seems different to some people, but it’s the norm for me.”
By the time she was 15, Mayfield had already made her first EP — “White Lies” — which was recorded David’s bedroom. One of the 100 copies of “White Lies” eventually made it into the hands of Akron-based The Black Keys guitarist/vocalist Dan Auerbach.
“His dad had gotten a copy of [‘White Lies’] that I recorded with my brother, and I didn’t know who he was at the time or whatever,” Mayfield said of Auerbach with a laugh. “Like, I didn’t really know anything that was going on with him. He sent me a Myspace message and gave me his number and said he liked the music.
“He said, ‘My name is Dan. I play in a local band called The Black Keys.’”
After meeting Auerbach, Mayfield’s brother David would drop her off at his studio a few times each week to play, setting the foundation for a friendship that continues to this day.
Auerbach has since produced both of Mayfield’s full-length records. Released on Feb. 8, 2011, “Tell Me” was recorded at his Easy Eye Sound System studio in Akron where he, Mayfield and David all worked on the album together.
Despite the critical acclaim from multiple media outlets, Mayfield insists she tries to stay away from the hoopla. After all these years, she still doesn’t like listening to herself or watching herself performing.
Instead, she’s focusing on the music and sharing the sights of touring with her husband, who happens to be the touring bassist in her band.
“It’s just everything has been really good this year because I’m more mature,” Mayfield said. “And it’s definitely pretty awesome to be doing all of these things with my husband. It makes it feel less like work.”
On Aug. 24, Jessica Lea Mayfield, Jack & the Bear, Dios Ama and Possum & the Peach will perform at Mickey Finn’s Pub, 602 Lagrange St. Tickets are $10 in advance and $12 at the door. Advance tickets are available through Ticketmaster. The show starts at 9 p.m.
For more information, visit www.innovationconcerts.com.