CD reviews for 06/09/09 – Jessica Lea Mayfield, The Flatlanders

Compact Capsules for June 9, 2009
by Dan Ferguson

Jessica Lea Mayfield
With Blasphemy So Heartfelt
Polymer Sounds

Born into a family band, bluegrass was the first calling for Jessica Lea Mayfield. There’s nary a note of it on her debut With Blasphemy So Heartfelt. Produced by Black Keys guitarist and fellow Ohioan Dan Auerbach, there’s a dark, late night tinge to the blurred folk, country, blues and alt rock tones lacing the alluring dozen songs from the sweet and woozy-voiced singer. Not yet 20, Mayfield shows some definite songwriting chops despite her tender years. And if the songs are biographical, she’s done a lot of living, too. Visit

The Flatlanders
Hills & Valleys
New West Records

In Texas music circles, they’re on the order of Mount Rushmore. All originally hailing from Lubbock, Joe Ely, Jimmie Dale Gilmore, Butch Hancock and Lloyd Maines have logged many music miles since the early 70s. The years and seasoning that comes with that graces the grooves of Hill & Valleys. With Maines both producing and lending his multi-instrumental talents, democracy is at work as Messrs. Ely, Gilmore and Hancock showcase their wonderful ways equally between singing and songwriting with the end result a record that may finally put to rest the “More a legend that a band” moniker. Good stuff. Visit

(Dan Ferguson is a free-lance music writer and host of The Boudin Barndance, broadcast Thursday nights from 6 – 9 pm on WRIU-FM 90.3. He lives in Peace Dale and can be reached at [email protected].)