Tell Me by Jessica Lea Mayfield on Apple Music

13 Songs

EDITORS’ NOTES

Featuring songwriting more mature than one would expect from a 21-year-old, Mayfield sounds at once self-assured and wounded in these songs. Singing in a ghostly deadpan, she reflects on heartbreak and confusion through sly, introspective lyrics that are sometimes at odds with the music itself. Even seemingly bright moments expose gloom just below the surface, as on “Blue Skies Again,” with its upbeat melody that is in contrast to the resignation of the lyrics, and the bubbly keyboard hook of “Grown Man” that actually accentuates the creepiness of the story she tells. Several tracks, such as “I’ll Be the One You Want Someday,” “Trouble,” and “Sometimes At Night,” have a country noir feel well suited to her delivery and the melancholy subject matter. The album was produced by Dan Auerbach of the Black Keys, whose tremolo-drenched guitar, drum machine loops, and other adventurous studio touches add to the album’s haunting mood and genre-hopping charm. Tell Me is an intriguing and often hypnotic statement from an ambitious artist who is wise and world-weary beyond her years.

EDITORS’ NOTES

Featuring songwriting more mature than one would expect from a 21-year-old, Mayfield sounds at once self-assured and wounded in these songs. Singing in a ghostly deadpan, she reflects on heartbreak and confusion through sly, introspective lyrics that are sometimes at odds with the music itself. Even seemingly bright moments expose gloom just below the surface, as on “Blue Skies Again,” with its upbeat melody that is in contrast to the resignation of the lyrics, and the bubbly keyboard hook of “Grown Man” that actually accentuates the creepiness of the story she tells. Several tracks, such as “I’ll Be the One You Want Someday,” “Trouble,” and “Sometimes At Night,” have a country noir feel well suited to her delivery and the melancholy subject matter. The album was produced by Dan Auerbach of the Black Keys, whose tremolo-drenched guitar, drum machine loops, and other adventurous studio touches add to the album’s haunting mood and genre-hopping charm. Tell Me is an intriguing and often hypnotic statement from an ambitious artist who is wise and world-weary beyond her years.

TITLE TIME
2:35
3:06
3:48
3:14
2:58
4:08
2:34
4:05
3:06
4:34
3:32
3:54
13 5:11

About Jessica Lea Mayfield

A folk-influenced songwriter from Kent, Ohio, Jessica Lea Mayfield began performing with her family's bluegrass band, One Way Rider, at the age of eight. She started writing her own music three years later, often accompanying her older brother at open-mike performances in the Ohio area before landing a weekly solo gig at a local bar. At 15 years old, Mayfield took to her brother's bedroom to record a batch of her own acoustic songs, which ran the gamut from raw, aggressive folk tunes to world-weary country ballads. The recordings made up the track list of White Lies, her independent debut, which she released under the name Chittlin'.

Only 100 copies of White Lies were printed, one of which wound up in the hands of Dan Auerbach, frontman of the Ohio-based blues outfit the Black Keys. With Auerbach's help, Mayfield began attracting a wider audience. She made a guest appearance on the Black Keys' 2008 album Attack & Release, singing backup vocals on the track "Things Ain’t Like They Used to Be," and spent a pair of years recording her official debut album, With Blasphemy So Heartfelt, in Auerbach's home studio. Released in September 2008 by Polymer Sounds, the album was a critical success. Mayfield supported its release by going on tour, serving as an opening act for bands like the Avett Brothers, Cake, Lucero, and the Black Keys.

Mayfield's touring commitments stretched into 2009, when she opened 11 concerts for Ray Lamontagne and performed at the annual Bonnaroo Festival that summer. Continuing her association with Dan Auerbach, she also appeared on the frontman's first solo record, Keep It Hid, and enlisted his help in recording her second album. Tell Me, which doubled as her first release for Nonesuch Records, was released in early 2011.

Mayfield's follow-up, Make My Head Sing, was a complete musical switch. Recorded at Nashville's Club Roar Studio with drummer/engineer Matt Martin and co-produced by husband Jesse Newport, the album was a scorching, electric rock & roll set. It was issued by ATO in April of 2014. She then returned to her more acoustic roots to record an appropriately solemn covers album of Elliott Smith songs with Seth Avett of the Avett Brothers titled Seth Avett & Jessica Lea Mayfield Sing Elliott Smith. The album was released in early 2015 and was accompanied by a tour on which the duo performed songs by Smith and shared influences including the Beatles and Bob Dylan, as well as their own material. Sticking with the indie rock complexion of Make My Head Sing, Mayfield's fourth solo album, Sorry Is Gone, was written during a separation from her husband and released in September 2017. In addition to production by John Agnello, it featured guests including Seth Avett and Sonic Youth drummer Steve Shelley. ~ Andrew Leahey

  • ORIGIN
    Kent, OH
  • BORN
    Aug 27, 1989

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