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Mayfield Blues

The young Ohian songstress will be performing at the Varsity Theater this Friday.


What: Jessica Lea Mayfield

When: 8 p.m., Friday

Where: Varsity Theater, 1308 Fourth St. S.E., Minneapolis.

Cost: $12

Jessica Lea Mayfield was first discovered when she was 15, but at 21 sheâÄôs hit a growth spurt. Her sophomore follow-up âÄúTell MeâÄù is a far cry from the bedroom schmaltz that riddled her debut. Now accompanied by a full band, the album sees the Ohio-bred prodigy finally coming into her own, dispelling any suspicions that sheâÄôs merely more flavor-of-the-week fodder.

From the cheesy Casio keys of âÄúGrown ManâÄù to the Liz Phair-influenced single âÄúOur Hearts Are Wrong,âÄù the album illustrates MayfieldâÄôs range as a songwriter. âÄúSomewhere In Your HeartâÄù opens with a quiet strum before exploding into a rip-roaring guitar solo courtesy of Black Keys frontman and MayfieldâÄôs go-to producer Dan Auerbach. And Mayfield takes that creative leap into grandiosity while retaining her gloomy mystique. But itâÄôs a musical transition that she says has been met with some criticism.

âÄúPeople have been asking me a lot about how much IâÄôve changed since the last record. People say âÄòI wish you wouldnâÄôt have changed,âÄô and itâÄôs like, well, youâÄôre watching me grow up. You know I canâÄôt help it,âÄù Mayfield said. âÄúAll the time [fans] ask me, âÄòWhy are you changing?âÄô and IâÄôm like, âÄòAre you kidding me?âÄôâÄù****

Despite a minority of detractors, âÄúTell MeâÄù was a critical success and landed Mayfield her first national television appearance with a performance on âÄúLate ShowâÄù with David Letterman. But she said her brush with indie fame hasnâÄôt changed her entirely. In some ways sheâÄôs still the same lovelorn homebody who made a name for herself playing Foo Fighters covers with her brother at open mics.

 âÄúIâÄôm still really isolated and reclusive,âÄù Mayfield said. âÄúItâÄôs kind of weird, especially now when I go places and I walk into a room or a bar and everyone knows who I am and I donâÄôt know anyone. And suddenly IâÄôm popular and IâÄôve never tried to go out and make friends.âÄù

Mayfield is mature beyond her years. Most of her peers are older than her, but she insists itâÄôs not all that intimidating. She has a hard time connecting with most people in her age demographic anyway.

 âÄúItâÄôs hard for me to hang out with people who are my age because they canâÄôt relate to me and my career and owning a house and being independent,âÄù Mayfield said. âÄúI donâÄôt have a lot of the normal 21-year-old drama.âÄù

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