Jessica Lea Mayfield: Ahead Of Schedule

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An honest and seasoned performer, Jessica Lea Mayfield has a real knack for poetry and powerful lyrics. Though only 19, the native of Kent, Ohio, already seems to be on the cusp of major success.

Mayfield's new album, With Blasphemy So Heartfelt, was produced by Black Keys guitarist Dan Auerbach. The former bluegrass kid has gained a load of experience during her non-stop tours in the past year and half, opening for the likes of The Black Keys and The Avett Brothers.

It was only a few years ago when I would try to catch Mayfield at her Monday-night gig at the Europe Gyro in Kent, or around the corner at the Zephyr. I assumed she'd be there for a while: Dozens of new singers appear on the scene every year in this music-rich region of Ohio, and rarely do any of them break through that magic bubble into a full-fledged career.

I'm lucky enough to have seen Mayfield make the transition from timid-but-engaging singer into an artist who can hold her own in front of a couple thousand people in a concert hall.

Listen to Mayfield now, and you'll be able to say the same thing in a few years. I expect she'll continue on the path she started on at the age of 11, when she began singing with her family's bluegrass band, One Way Rider. In a couple years, after all, she'll only be 21, with a decade of experience behind her. And a lifetime of songwriting ahead.

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