Bits: Greg fucking Dulli, Alan Lomax Archive, Grinderman, Futurebirds, Bonnie “Prince” Billy & Cheyenne Mize

  • The big freaking news for me personally this week is Greg fucking Dulli’s (in my world, this is his actual, legal name) first solo tour. “An Evening with Greg Dulli” will be making the rounds in the U.S. and Europe in October and November. Afghan Whigs songs are promised, as are brand new Twilight Singers tunes.
  • The Alan Lomax Archive now has a YouTube Channel with footage of R.L. Burnside, Sam Chatmon and more.
  • Our friends at Buddyhead have a new Grinderman song for you, “Heathen Child”, along with the scary and possibly not-safe-for-work cover art.
  • The charming Futurebirds release Hampton Lullaby today, and you can take a listen at Spinner.
  • Bonnie “Prince” Billy and Cheyenne Mize have released a sweet and mellow EP of covers called Among the Gold. You can listen here and download here.

Don’t Say I Never Gave You Anything: Cowboy Junkies, Futurebirds, Young Mammals

Here, people, have some music.

First up, a humid, languid tune called “Cicadas” from the upcoming Cowboy Junkies’ album Renmin Park. Renmin Park will be the first album in a four-album series called The Nomad Series, and the following album in the series, Demons, will be made up of covers of songs from the late, great Vic Chesnutt.

Cowboy Junkies – Cicadas

Cowboy Junkies Official Website

Even though I gave them a lukewarm concert review here last week, I still like the guys in Futurebirds. Damn those Southern charmers. Their debut album, Hampton’s Lullaby, will be dropping on July 27, and here’s a track from the album called “Johnny Utah”.

Futurebirds – Johnny Utah

Futurebirds MySpace

Finally, an energetic ditty with a seasick rhythm called “Confetti” from Houston band Young Mammals. They will be releasing their album Carrots on June 22 and playing at the Happy Dog in Cleveland on July 2.

Young Mammals – Confetti

Young Mammals MySpace

Futurebirds & Jessica Lea Mayfield at the Beachland Ballroom in Cleveland, OH, 5.19.10


With six members playing pedal steel guitar, bass, acoustic guitar, electric guitar, banjo, mandolin and drums – switching off instruments and vocals throughout the set – Futurebirds have a hell of a lot of strings, but you wouldn’t mistake them for a string band. You might mistake them for a really big bar band, though. I’ll just be honest and say that their music didn’t do much for me, but their sense of humor did. A band who can play to a nearly-empty hall and still enjoy the hell out of themselves is okay in my book. The crowd was willing to give them the benefit of the doubt, and they were rewarded when the band kicked in three great songs at the end of their set, one led by drummer Payton Bradford who came out from behind his kit to strap on a Fender and go.

(One song was dedicated to LeBron James. “This one’s for LeBron. Maybe he’ll stay,” they said, perhaps in a bid to further endear themselves to the crowd. “He won’t,” came the reply out of the audience. The blacklash has begun. Have fun with that, King James.)

Jessica Lea Mayfield

Jessica Lea Mayfield is so laconic in speech and movement that you may sometimes feel as though you’re watching slow-motion film when you see her. This has led some to deem her bland. But Mayfield’s true talent – that of holding a microscope up to emotion, whether good, bad, ugly or indifferent – doesn’t require glitz or stagey charisma. But don’t think for a moment that Mayfield doesn’t know how to capture a catchy tune. The wordless refrain of “Kiss Me Again”, as one example, will lodge itself in your brain the first time you hear it.

Mayfield, who is impressively pale and is all skinny arms and legs, seems shy between songs, bowing her head bashfully as she thanks the audience for their cheering appreciation. But in her song subject matter and in her voice, Mayfield is bold. Though only 20 years old, she has long had an old soul self-awareness, and while she seems her age between songs, once she is playing and singing, Mayfield becomes an ancient sage, holding up a mirror to all of us as she holds one up to herself.

But a Jessica Lea Mayfield show is not a solemn occasion, partially thanks to her support band which, this evening, consisted of her brother, David, on upright bass, Richie Kirkpatrick (in unnervingly tiny shorts) on electric guitar and a drummer whose name I didn’t catch (not Anne Lillis). Kirkpatrick is sometimes caricaturish, but entertaining, in his rock and rolling, and David Mayfield is a powerhouse of energy and vitality. During the scorching crescendo of “I Can’t Lie to You, Love” (don’t let it be said that Mayfield and company don’t know how to kick it), the Mayfield brother could be seen laying on the stage, holding the bass up with his feet as eh played, then laying the bass down and beating percussion on the strings.

Perhaps Jessica Lea Mayfield’s music is not for everyone, but it’s still surprising – and disappointing – how small the audience was for the northeast Ohio native’s show. But , as seems so often the way within our little cradle of civilization, Mayfield will gain more recognition and success ass he continues to tour with friends like the Avett Brothers and the Black Keys, and then NEO will embrace her with open arms after the rest of the world warmly embraces that which was right under our noses the entire time.