David Mayfield is a pudgy, hairy man with funny glasses. Just
under this unassuming shell is a warm and animated personality who plays music with undeniable
Mayfield has incredible presence, breaking into dance with the energy of a 5 year old at random moments. Through a combination of all of these characteristics, David Mayfield has become a magnet for numerous opportunities, friends and fans. Everyone wants to be a part of his parade.
Since 2008, David Mayfield has been the lead guitarist and supporting vocalist for rising alternative bluegrass band Cadillac Sky. Mayfield brought much-needed energy to the group and assisted in its ascent to playing sold-out shows and a coveted spot at MerleFest 2010. Then, late last year, Cadillac Sky"s lead singer announced his departure. The band insisted it would continue, but other things were afoot.
2011 opened with the release of Mayfield"s self-titled debut album, "The David Mayfield Parade." On the same day of the release, Cadillac Sky announced an indefinite hiatus. Mayfield had somersaulted into his next project without slowing down.
"The David Mayfield Parade" is not a stark departure from Cadillac Sky, but it is not a bluegrass album in any sense. While Mayfield retains the folksy nostalgia of his former group, there is a glaring omission of banjo and mandolin. Mayfield refuses to consign himself to one style, exploring country, rock, duets and orchestral arrangements on "The David Mayfield Parade." Not unlike Mayfield"s personality, it has many facets.
Though Mayfield is obviously the leader, "The David Mayfield Parade" is a collaborative effort. More than 25 musicians are a part of the parade, but three are at the front of the marching block: Mayfield"s sister, Jessica Lea Mayfield, and Scott and Seth Avett of the Avett Brothers. They convinced David to embark on this project and provided their services for a number of its songs. Mayfield became quick friends with the Avetts when his sister toured with them in 2008.
There is a central theme to "The David Mayfield Parade." This is apparent without even giving the album a listen, as three of the 11 songs contain the word "love." Others aren"t quite as blatant, but it"s obvious this is the emotion that rules the project. Most of the songs cover romantic relationships, like "I Just Might Pray," but he also sets aside room for his family in the quirky "What Do You Call It."
Mayfield may come across as vulnerable in his gentler songs, "Blue Skies Again" and "Breath of Love," but don"t count him out as a softy. He counterbalances with the rockabilly "Noreen" and the horn-heavy "Udine."
Mayfield is candid in his songwriting, and his delivery is always forthright. He gives the impression that he"d be the kind to keep the first cut of a song even if he sang a little off key. His cover of the 1961 country hit, "Sea of Heartbreak," with his sister, Jessica, is representative of this. Mayfield clearly enjoyed recording this song, and it is nothing short of endearing.
Fans of Cadillac Sky may be disappointed that "The David Mayfield Parade" is lacking an old-time sound. Mayfield has been playing bluegrass all of his life, from touring across the country Partridge-family style with a family band to his stint in Cadillac Sky.
"The David Mayfield Parade" afforded Mayfield the option for a break, and he jumped at it. Although the loss of Cadillac Sky is disappointing, Mayfield"s talents are well utilized on his solo venture. Mayfield"s experiment with variety leaves a break in the line for more listeners to join in on the parade.
The David Mayfield Parade is online at DavidMayfieldParade.com.