Every Monday through Friday, we deliver a different song as part our Song of the Day podcast subscription. This podcast features exclusive KEXP in-studio performances, unreleased songs, and recordings from independent artists that our DJs think you should hear. Each and every Friday we offer songs by local artists. This week we are featuring songs for the holidays. Today’s song is Roger Miller’s “Little Toy Trains” as performed by Jessica Lea Mayfield from the 2011 holiday compilation My Favorite Gifts on Ramseur Records.
At eight years old, Jessica Lea Mayfield was performing with her family’s bluegrass band, and by twelve she was writing her own music. Fellow Ohioan Dan Auerbach of The Black Keys came across her collection of folk tunes called White Lies, that she made at 15-years old, and her exposure began to broaden. Mayfield showed up on 2008’s Attack and Release, and in Auerbach’s home studio recorded her official debut.
The Kent, Ohio, native has come a long way, and today’s featured song is a treat in her refreshingly simple execution of the Roger Miller’s Christmas tune. “Little Toy Trains” is another notch on the gamut of folk cred she has earned over the past few years. You’ll find it on a benefit album along with David Wax Museum, The Avett Brothers, and The Wood Brothers, and more, all in support of the Vickie S. Honeycutt Foundation, which supports teachers and educators recovering from cancer. The compilation can be yours for a very reasonable price of $5. Pick it up here.
Although Roger Miller actually called the song “Old Toy Trains,” Glen Campbell, likely Jessica Lea Mayfield’s inspiration, called it “Little Toy Trains.” Here’s his version: