By Al Kaufman
David Mayfield has a voice as warm and friendly as a James Taylor smile. If The Parade were full of mid-tempo soft rockers it would be pleasant enough, but Mayfield is more than a Sweet Baby James clone. The bass player who grew up on bluegrass music is a member of the alternative country group, Cadillac Sky, and has performed often with the Avett Brothers. His production work on Barry Scott’s In God’s Time earned him a Grammy nomination for best Southern Gospel.
Mayfield lets all his musical talents shine on The Parade. Sure, he covers Don Gibson’s 1961 country classic, “Sea of Heartbreak,” but his own songs stand up well beside it. Like “Sea of Heartbreak,” Mayfield’s songs deal with longing and heartache, but often offer a glimmer of hope, or sometimes just plain silliness; such as on “What Do You Call It?,” a country-flavored ditty in which Mayfield whistles and confesses, “I’m goofy like my father.”
He finds his inner Jerry Lee Lewis on the rockabilly “Noreen,” and is able to write the perfect opening line to a break-up song for “Dorm Room Wall.” “Take me out of the picture frame” pretty much tells you all you need to know.
But Mayfield saves his best for last. “Afraid I’m Right” is a slow-burning number with a hearty blues guitar and the Avett Brothers providing back-up. “David, what have you done?” they ask. “You pushed her away, and now she’s gone.” Fans of good singer/songwriters, however, would do wise to not follow in her footsteps.
David Mayfield plays Eddie’s Attic Wednesday, December 8.