Review of Jessica Lea Mayfield's New Album

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Kent singer-songwriter Jessica Lea Mayfield has a new album coming out on February 8. Tell Me is her major-label debut. Since she pals around with the Black Keys (Dan Auerbach produced and plays on the new album), who are also on Nonesuch Records, we're guessing they had something to do with her record deal. Mayfield has a gig with Justin Townes Earle at the Kent Stage the same day the album comes out. Here's our review of the record:

Jessica Lea Mayfield
Tell Me
(Nonesuch)

Dan Auerbach brings out the best in 21-year-old Kent singer-songwriter Jessica Lea Mayfield on her major-label debut. The Black Key produced Tell Me, but he also plays guitar, sings backing vocals, and adds drum loops. His touch is obvious on the twangy “Our Hearts Are Wrong” and the woozy “Trouble,” a ballad in which Mayfield seductively slurs, “You should run far from the wrong I am doing.” You better believe it. But the drum loops and canned beats occasionally come off as synthetic, pulling away from Mayfield’s naturally evocative voice. All that artificial noise ends up a disservice. Still, this is Mayfield’s strongest record, an alt-country torch storm that rivals Neko Case’s best. —Jeff Niesel

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