Mayfield grew up in Kent surrounded by the bluegrass music of his family’s band One Way Rider. In the early days, the band included his parents Valerie and David Lee and his sister Jessica Lea, who is now a rising star in the indie folk scene. One Way Rider — with both David and Jessica Lea returning to the fold — opens for the David Mayfield Parade tonight at 8 p.m.
David Mayfield’s story is pretty classic stuff. By the age of 12, he was playing bass with the family outfit, and he began to learn instruments such as mandolin and guitar while traveling on the road with bluegrass and traditional music veterans.
Mayfield's instrumental prowess was well developed by the time he was in his teens. He had received a number of national awards for his guitar and mandolin skills, and he already had a reputation as a player to be reckoned with.
The Mayfield family headed to Nashville in the hopes of bringing some stability to their musical careers. The family lived in their 1956 Flex tour bus, and David and his father worked in a machine shop to help make ends meet. David has fond memories of singing with his father in the empty shop when their shifts were over. The Mayfields eventually returned to Kent, and both David and Jessica Lea began to forge their own paths.
In 2005, David released a solo album on his own Bass Boy label, and continued to work as an in-demand session musician. He joined the newgrass group Cadillac Sky, who signed to the Skaggs Family label and released their debut album, Blind Man Walking, in 2007. The next year, Mayfield played on Jessica Lea’s debut, Blasphemy So Heartfelt, and played bass on her tour.
While on the road with his sister, Mayfield caught the attention of Scott and Seth Avett of the red-hot Avett Brothers. The three quickly developed a friendship, and the brothers agreed to join him in the studio for his next solo effort, The David Mayfield Parade.
Jessica Lea’s star continued to rise as well. Her second album, Tell Me, was produced by Dan Auerbach of the Black Keys (who also helmed the board for the most recent Cadillac Sky CD Letters in the Deep). The critically acclaimed release generated major buzz and led to appearances at major festivals and on the Late Show with David Letterman.
The David Mayfield Parade reflects the numerous influences that the talented singer-songwriter has absorbed in his untraditional life of music. Mixing country, folk, and rock and roll – the album is yet another example of the amazing musical DNA of the Mayfield clan. Check out the cool video for I Just Might Pray to get a sense of his vision.
It will all be on display on Thursday night at the Kent Stage, at what is sure to be an emotional and jubilant homecoming for David, Jessica Lea and their parents.
Tickets are $10, $5 with student ID. The doors open at 7 p.m., and the show gets under way at 8 p.m.
The Thursday concert is the start of a big weekend for the Kent Stage. On Friday, Texas swing legends Asleep at the Wheel return. Ray Benson and his Austin band mates have been playing since 1969, and their road-tested show never disappoints.
On Saturday, former Grateful Dead drummer Bill Kreutzmann brings his new band 7 Walkers to the Kent Stage. Joining Kreutzmann in the new group is guitarist and vocalist Papa Mali, legendary New Orleans bassist George Porter Jr. and multi-instrumentalist Matt Hubbard.
Details on all the shows are available on the Kent Stage website.