Wednesday To-Do: Jessica Lea Mayfield | Rock Candy

Wednesday To-Do: Jessica Lea Mayfield

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Jessica Lea Mayfield plays Juanitas tonight.
  • Jessica Lea Mayfield plays Juanita's tonight.

JESSICA LEA MAYFIELD
9 p.m. Juanita's. $10.

Jessica Lea Mayfield is one of those wise-beyond-her-years singer/songwriters who might cause nonbelievers to reconsider reincarnation.

Ruling out the influence of past lives, Mayfield must have either had a string of painful breakups by the tender age of 21, or else she has a powerful imagination and the ability to synthesize real, grownup heartache to a degree so convincing that it doesn't matter whether it really happened.

A native of Kent, Ohio, Mayfield kicked off her recording career with a homemade EP that fell into the lap of Dan Auerbach of The Black Keys. Auerbach helmed both of her full-lengths, enveloping her songs in a sparse yet rich production, particularly her most recent album, "Tell Me," a set dominated by ruminations on relationships that border on the morose.

On lead single "Our Hearts Are Wrong," Mayfield feigns aloof circumspection, but reveals her underlying vulnerability over simple acoustic guitar strumming and a gently thudding Casio beat. She's got a smoky, restrained voice and an appealing Midwestern twang (yeah, Ohio folks can have an honest-to-God drawl; have you ever heard Robert Pollard talk?) Her music is a sort of gothic country-pop that, while not exactly bleak, is pretty dark.

Ferraby Lionheart opens the show.

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