Jessica Lea Mayfield – With Blasphemy, So Heartfelt

by oz on September 10, 2008

I received some horrible news last week. I saw a message on Facebook that a good middle school friend of mine died of a stroke in his apartment.‚  His body wasn’t discovered for days. I don’t know if it was the news of his death at the age of 30, that he died alone, that he left a child behind, or maybe that no one bothered to check on him for several days, but the news really shook me.

Johnny was a big guy. He was big in stature, big in personality, and he had a heart that was bigger than both. He always respected others, knew right from wrong, and sometimes actually did what was right. My contact with Johnny faded when I moved away from Oregon to Ohio, but I thought about him and heard through others that he had battled heavy drug addiction. Unfortunately his demons finally got the best of him. I didn’t know Johnny during his troubled years and in my mind I can only see the 8th grader, always with a wide grin and a joke at hand.

Why am I writing this? Partially because its cathartic, but mostly because on the same day I heard the news about Johnny, I also received Jessica Lea Mayfield’s debut album With Blasphemy, So Heartfelt in the mail. I put on the headphones and took a long bike ride around Shoreline Park while the sun was setting, listening to the stunning album and thinking about my old friend.

Jessica Lea Mayfield is only 18 years old and hails from Kent, Ohio. Although she’s young, she doesn’t lack experience. She’s performed with her family band One Way Rider since the age of eight and last year, she provided backing vocals on The Black Keys’ track “Things Ain’t Like They Used To Be” off of Attack and Release.

With Blasphemy, So Heartfelt was produced by (you guessed it) Dan Auerbach and recorded over two years in his Akron, OH studio and Dr. Dog’s Scott McMicken and Frank McElroy assisted on backing vocals. Oh, and she’s become a favorite of Scott Avett of The Avett Brothers. Her sound is meloncholy and paints a picture of the sky just before a big Ohio storm. It’s a combination of Mazzy Starr, Loretta Lynn, and Neko Case as it weaves folk, blues and country around her tales of failed romance that are oddly somewhat uplifting.

Not one of our typical album reviews. This was just one of those fucking days.


Jessica Lea Mayfield – Kiss Me Again

Backstage video of “We’ve Never Lied”


{ 7 comments… read them below or add one }

Torn September 10, 2008 at 11:49 am

Now that’s a song to get lost in. Seems like a good day all around for sad songs. Here’s my playlist today.

Bleeding Heart Show New Pornographers
Abacus Fionn Regan
Saddest Song Airplane Noise
Portions for Foxes Rilo Kiley
Tales of Spain Annie Rapid
Lazy Eye Silversun Pickups
Mean Chris Blake
Song of the Sad Assassin Why?
Sad Songs The Frames

M Dorsch September 10, 2008 at 12:49 pm

kudos to the dan auerbach week! smashing, really.

DBT Chicago September 10, 2008 at 2:23 pm

music is such a beautiful thing. you can escape with it, run with it or sit down with it. sorry for your loss.

Woody September 10, 2008 at 8:17 pm

An amazing album from someone so young.

oz September 11, 2008 at 8:03 am

Well put, DBT.

amancay September 15, 2008 at 6:18 pm

wow… yeah, tough stuffs to take in, digest, and really fully understand…

it’s interesting to see the same thoughts that stirred through my brain that week, put into writing, from so far away…


Vanessa April 22, 2009 at 10:48 am

saw her open last night for Ray LaMontagne. her voice is captivating. and her songs suck you in. cannot believe she’s only 18/19 yrs old.

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