Jessica Lea Mayfield: My Self-Esteem Is Heating Up the Room

Discovered by Chuck Auerbach (father of that guy in the Black Keys) when she was about 16 years old, Kent, Ohio’s Jessica Lea Mayfield (now 21) has come a long way, championed by the likes of the Black Keys, the Avett Brothers and Justin Townes Earle, and with her new album, Tell Me, it sounds like she doesn’t plan to stop.

Tell Me, which will be released on February 8, is Mayfield’s second full-length album and her second album produced by Dan Auerbach. And by the sound of the sneak-peek song “Our Hearts Are Wrong”, it will be twice the album that 2008’s With Blasphemy So Heartfelt was – which was a beautiful album to begin with – expanding her sound in new ways. Download “Our Hearts Are Wrong” below and catch Mayfield as she tours with Jay Farrar and Justin Townes Earle, with a stop back home for the Kent Folk Festival on November 18.

Slackday: Feel Good

I wasn’t going to post anything remotely Black Keys-related today because it seemed too obvious in light of their Cleveland show tomorrow night (which somehow isn’t sold out, even though several shows on this tour are sold out – no damn wonder Pat moved away and Dan will probably be moving soon) and my inability to shut about them lately. But then the awesome Freddie Gibbs collaboration “Oil Money” turned up yesterday, and I haven’t been able to stop listening to it. Featuring Dan Auerbach along with Chuck Inglish (of the Cool Kids, who will appear on the next BlakRoc joint), Bun B and Cleveland’s Chip Tha Ripper, this is a gorgeous piece of hip hop. You can download the mp3 at It’s A Rap.


And what’s more appropriate for Slackday than a song about feeling goooood from Chip Tha Ripper?


NTSIB is Headin’ South

And unlike the protagonist in Dan Auerbach’s awesome song, “Keep It Hid”, we can say where.

Jennifer and I and our longtime friend, writer Cameron Rogers, will be hitting the road to Oxford, Mississippi, tomorrow. As we’ll be out seeing the sites, maybe catching a show, hitting the Blues Archive at Ole Miss, the Delta Blues Museum, Graceland Too (heaven help us), Square Books (perhaps we’ll score a Dent May siting) and who knows what else (as well as catching the Felice Brothers at Lebowski Fest on the way home), we’ll be on hiatus until after our return on the 17th.

Before we go, though, we’d like to let you know that NSTIB buddies Hell and Half of Georgia will be playing a couple of gigs at the Orange County Fair in Costa Mesa, California, this month. One on July 17 at 5:00 p.m. on the Meadows Stage and another on July 30 with details to be announced.

Now, Dan Auerbach and the Fast Five will take us out. Take care. We love you. See you soon.


Obsess Much? : Dan Auerbach never stops

Okay, in terms of making this Cadillac Sky Week at NTSIB, this may be cheating a little, but since it’s my blog and you can’t stop me…

Dan Auerbach – of Akron, Ohio’s the Black Keys, if you don’t know by now – loves music. This may seem an obvious thing to say about a musician, but it’s more true of some than others. To quote the man himself from his Nonesuch feature page, “I’m pretty obsessed with making music and with recording, I’m always thinking about it. It drives my family crazy. But it’s what I do.” Auerbach likes being on both sides of the recording console and in his “spare” time, he lends his help, and his home studio, to a long list of bands. Here is a gathering of Auerbach-produced songs from bands ranging in vibe from bluegrass to blues to punk.

Cadillac Sky – Nashville, Tennessee

Obviously, we here at NTSIB love these guys and encourage you, again, to pick up their new album, Letters in the Deep, and catch them live if at all possible.

Buffalo Killers – Cincinnati, Ohio

Hacienda – San Antonio, Texas
You might also recognize these guys as the Fast Five, the name they used when touring as Auerbach’s support band on his solo tour. They’ll be in Cleveland, Ohio, at the Beachland Ballroom on June 19 when they open for Grace Potter and the Nocturnals.

SSM – Detroit, Michigan

Patrick Sweany – Nashville, Tennessee

The Ettes – Nashville, Tennessee

Radio Moscow – Story City, Iowa

Brimstone Howl – Omaha, Nebraska

Jessica Lea Mayfield – Kent, Ohio
Jessica is gearing up to release a third album, and the early word fro
m her brother David is that it is mind-blowing. She’ll be opening for the Black Keys when they play Nautica in Cleveland on July 24.

Slackday: And Ohio boys ain’t too bad, either

As it’s Slackday, I’ll just drop the (very thin) veneer of objective professionalism and admit it: I am currently obsessed with all things Dan Auerbach. I’ve always dug the Black Keys, but the release of the new songs from their forthcoming album have compelled me to spend quality time with their catalogue and to get into Dan Auerbach’s solo work.

I learned that my favorite song on Dan Auerbach’s album, Keep It Hid, is a cover of a song that was written by Wayne Carson Thompson – who was also the writer of the fantastic song “The Letter” that was popularized by the Box Tops, sung by a very young Alex Chilton – and popularized by a duo called Jon & Robin. I had never heard the song, so I went looking for it. I was a little apprehensive that I might be faced with the fact that Dan didn’t conjure magic and awesome from thin air. But I needn’t have worried. As with A.A. Bondy, I’m finding I can always trust Dan.

You see, here’s the Jon & Robin version:

It’s cute, but after the promise of the intro, it feels limp and uninspiring.

Now, here’s what Dan did with it:

Fucking. A.

He took the promising intro of the Jon & Robin version, stretched it throughout the song and even ratcheted it up a few notches. I absolutely love that big-stomping carnival rhythm. I love the drop-out echo effect when he sings “more”. And, as always, I love the soulfulness of his vocal delivery. This is what covering a song should be all about, taking it and making it your own – keeping the bones, but practically rebuilding the rest from the ground up. Dan took something that was cute and twee and made it fun, sexy and absolutely rockin’.

Dan Auerbach MySpace

Dan Auerbach page at Nonesuch

Dan Auerbach KCRW In-studio Session at Rollo & Grady