KEXP at SXSW, Day 3: Jessica Lea Mayfield

photos by Jim Bennett

Jessica Lea Mayfield has come a long way from her dank origins playing for tips and free pizza in Kent, Ohio. Since its release, she’s garnered critical acclaim and features on Starbucks compilations. But this isn’t your everyday singer-songwriter. Her debut album, With Blasphemy So Heartfelt, was produced by Dan Auerbach (of The Black Keys), who injects a twinge of blues into Mayfield’s already dark songwriting. She’s toured with everyone from The Avett Brothers to Cake. But her solo work, while powerful and moving, isn’t as bombastic as the company she keeps. Her mournful strumming and Neko Case-esque vocals call to mind a dimly lit, smoke-filled dive on the edge of town, where truckers stop in for their nightcap.

Despite Mellow Johnny’s Bike Shop not quite having that same dark atmospheric drive, Jessica Lea Mayfield’s set was no less heartfelt. Dressed to the nines, she broke many a heart in this intimate performance. Check out the photos here:

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