The Avett Brothers and Jessica Lea Mayfield Open West Coast Tour
Last night, in Phoenix, Arizona, the Avett Brothers began the West Coast leg of their current tour in support of the 2007 release Emotionalism. At the Rhythm Room the quartet played numerous numbers from the critically acclaimed album, including ‘Shame,’ ‘Die Die Die,’ ‘Go to Sleep,’ ‘Will You Return,’ with its spiritual question interloping with the deep mysteries of one’s faith in inevitability and ‘Paranoia in D Flat’ (as opposed to B Major, the key the song is played on the album). They also dug deep into their canon by racing through other high energy, crowd-pleasing selections including ‘November Blues,’ ‘Please Pardon Yourself’ (with the crowd favorite lyric that got a huge roar: ‘I’ll give up the drinking, just show me how’) and a searing solo acoustic reading of ‘In the Curve,’ featuring Seth Avett.
Of additional note, was the opening act—Jessica Lea Mayfield and her band from Ohio, including her brother, David Mayfield on acoustic and electric bass, Mike Lenz on guitar and Bob Cesar on drums. Mayfield writes solid material, plays acoustic guitar and delivers star-making vocals. She has a classic folk meets blues, jazz and country seductive baritone with a wee bit of Dylanesque angst. Scott Avett sat in on vocals with fellow AB member, cellist Joe Kwon late in Mayfield’s set on a moving version of ‘For Today,’ a bittersweet song of love that won’t last until the sunrise. The Avett Brothers and Jessica Lea Mayfield continue their West Coast excursion in Tucson tonight at the Rialto Theatre. During festival season, the Avetts will play numerous dates including the Wakarusa and Bonnaroo festivals. Jessica Lea Mayfield will release her first album this summer while an EP titled White Lies, is currently available on tour and at her MySpace page. Report by Randy Ray