At first listen, Ohio’s Jessica Lea Mayfield leaves something to be desired vocally. With a limited range, it’s hard not to imagine Mayfield emotionally absorbed in every word while lackadaisically staring off into the past. Yet, her sound grows on you. Eleven tracks later her monotone, folksy, neo-country accent comes together to create a sound seemingly coined by the singer/songwriter. Tell Me is Mayfield’s second full-length album, and third overall album including her 2007 debut under the name Chittlin’. At 21-years-old it is clear Mayfield has found her distinctive groove, which has garnered major support from several musician male-counterparts, specifically Dan Auerbach of The Black Keys. Tell Me is Mayfield’s second album produced with Auerbach’s twist.
Dealing with themes of heartbreak and unrequited love, Mayfield echoes her 2008 release With Blasphemy So Heartfelt. “I’ll Be The One You Want Someday” opens the album with a touch of optimism. And as unrequited love goes, the optimism is gone shortly after. “Love has brought me down like loves been known to do,” Mayfield sings on the first single “Our Hearts Are Wong.” “I try to deny with all my heart that I’m in love with you. I don’t really care. You knew that’s what I’d say. The only time I miss you is every single day.” Mayfield lays down a emotionally heavy dialogue throughout the tracks of a young girl heartbroken and jaded beyond her age.
Auerbach offers vocal backing on “Blue Skies Again,” chiming in with some ooh-sha-la-la’s uncharacteristic to the rest of the album. Richie Kirkpatrick and Auerbach’s guitars come together on “I’ll Be The One You Want Someday” and “Somewhere In Your Heart” to compliment Mayfield. Auerbach’s touch helps to direct Mayfield’s style to the perfect intersection of folk and rock, which is definitely worth a listen.
In 2008, Mayfield toured in support and alongside acts including The Black Keys, The Avett Brothers, and Cake. In April 2009, she opened several dates for Ray LaMontagne bringing her to The Riverside in Milwaukee. With all that fanfare Mayfield might just be one of the next big female musicians.