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Jessica Lea Mayfield Live In Portland At The Doug Fir Lounge

Jessica Lea Mayfield‘s career trajectory has been a lively and rare one. The Ohio-born singer/songwriter began performing with her family’s bluegrass band at age eight, was writing songs and playing guitar by eleven, recorded her debut EP White Lies at fifteen and had her debut full length produced Dan Auerbach of The Black Keys. The confidence that being an industry vet at 24 provides seems to inform much of Mayfield’s 2014 release Make My Head Sing, which surprised some with it’s grungy nods to the music she came up on: Nirvana and The Foo Fighters. “Make My Head Sing” marks the first record Mayfield has released without Auerbach’s production assistance and sounds a lot like Hope Sandoval from Mazzy Star fronting a grunge band (so in other words: pretty rad).

Mayfield and her three piece band brought their tour behind Make My Head Sing to the fabulous Doug Fir Lounge in Portland, Oregon this week and delivered a tremendously on point set of new songs with a few of her live staples thrown in. Mayfield is a confident performer who seems as at ease on stage in front of a packed house as most folks do in their own living rooms. Dressed in an outfit of gold and glitter that would’ve made Ziggy Stardust jealous, Mayfield and company played a set with a perfect balance between her folky, “lost love” ballads and her newer fuzzed-out material.

Mayfield and her music possess a dreamy, mysterious quality that seems downright otherworldly onstage. At times she seemed almost dazed, with her tranquil and stoned-looking gaze beeming out at no one in particualr. That’s not to say that her performance is in any way lazy or lacking, her non-chalance serves more as a siren’s song that sneaks up on you through the set. Halfway through you’re standing on your toes inently, hanging on her every note. It brought to mind for me Julee Cruise’s performances in Twin Peaks, a thought that was probably aided by the fact that the Dour Fir is made to look like a log cabin and kinda resembles The Great Northern Hotel from the series, and has a drink called the Audrey Horne.

Overall Mayfield and company performed a wonderful set touching on all of her strengths as a songwriter. Their able handling of Make My Head Sing‘s material answered any questions about Mayfield’s newest direction and proved she is one of today’s more intriguing singer/songwriter talents and one that’s refreshingly unafraid of taking her career in new directions.