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A Banquet for Ghosts

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iTunes Review

The anguished balladry on the Alabama-born singer/songwriter’s second solo album is strong stuff, distilled from the pain of loss and the torment of lingering memories. Matthew Mayfield delivers these tunes in a burly, raw-edged voice that ranges from a full-throated cry to a near-whisper. Building his tracks around his sparse acoustic guitar work, he doesn’t shy away from confessing his weaknesses and desperation. “I have the crippling fear of seeing you again,” he sings in “Ain’t Much More to Say,” a typical sentiment among the songs found here. Whether his lyrics are simmering with anger (“I Don’t Know You at All”) or steeped in regret (“Take What I Can Get,” “Always Be You”), Mayfield delivers compelling performances that confront his demons head-on. His knack for clearly drawn imagery brings his characters into sharp focus, giving songs like “Heart in Wire” and “Safe & Sound” a visceral immediacy. Strings and pedal steel guitar add subtle accents at key moments. More than just another angst-ridden troubadour, Mayfield raises his heartache to compelling high art on A Banquet for Ghosts.

A Banquet for Ghosts, Matthew Mayfield
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