If you only listen to one song today, make it “Blue Skies Again” by The David Mayfield Parade (2010, from the album The David Mayfield Parade).
David Mayfield is a bluegrass/folk/country/rock singer/songwriter from Kent, Ohio. He is the older brother of acclaimed singer/songwriter Jessica Lea Mayfield. They grew up in a musical family, always on the road as a touring band with their parents. After they ended up setting an anchor in Tennessee, then more permanently back in Ohio, David taught his little sister how to play a few chords, and she very soon started writing her own songs. When she was 15, she started playing gigs with David, and they’ve been frequent collaborators since then.
In 2008, Jessica released her debut album, with David playing bass on it. They toured in support of The Avett Brothers, who asked David to continue playing with them, even after that leg of the tour was over. By the time that adventure was through, Seth Avett convinced David to release his own record.
David released his debut record The David Mayfield Parade in 2010. The first song on the album is your song of the day, and it’s one that Jessica Lea Mayfield fans know well. He wrote the song for her, and she eventually recorded it on her incredible 2011 album Tell Me. Her version is a little more rock-oriented, but I really like his version.
“Blue Skies Again” by The David Mayfield Parade
It’s like he’s got the sensitivity of John Denver mixed with the über-cool of Dwight Yoakam. From everything that I’ve read, David Mayfield is pretty hilarious in his stage banter. Because he has a big beard, that means he’s compared in some ways to Zach Galifianakis.
I love how David’s version starts off with symphonic stuff, almost like it’s a Scott Walker song or something. Then, between 0:15 and the first chorus at about 1:00, the acoustic guitar bit is so beautifully typical of Appalachian mountain music influence. I love that aspect of it. From that point on, other things start to enter the mix. It gets bigger and broader, and he tricks us at the end, when the symphonic stuff comes back in. It sounds like it’s going to end like that, but it suddenly gets rocky for about 30 seconds before shifting gears again and ending with just the acoustic guitar and vocals.
Tomorrow night, I’ll be seeing David and Jessica together as they blow through North Carolina for three shows on their “Sibling Rivalry Tour”. My guess is that they’ll each play their own songs, play each other’s songs, and also play together a lot. I don’t know which version of “Blue Skies Again” we’ll get to hear, but I kind of hope that it’s David’s version.
Just for comparison’s sake, here also is Jessica’s version of the song:
“Blue Skies Again” by Jessica Lea Mayfield
Both Jessica and David have new records on the horizon. I highly recommend Jessica’s records, especially Tell Me.