Last October we were all anxious to hear the local live premiere of Jessica Lea Mayfield’s latest work at Boot & Saddle… However, an unfortunate lingering injury from a car accident forced the singer/songwriter to cancel all of her October shows. However, she has rescheduled and will be headlining Boot & Saddle next Thursday, March 8th… And Philly is quite excited about it, selling out the show more than a month in advance (If you don’t have tickets and aren’t on the list, sorry…) The last time I spoke to Jessica Lea Mayfied was almost exactly three years ago, as she was preparing to hit the road with Seth Avett and their Elliott Smith tribute (which hit the Keswick). However, on this tour (which is nearing the end of its three-month run) she’s performing a collection of songs that are quite a bit more personal. Mayfield’s fourth and latest album, Sorry is Gone, was release last September on ATO Records. The album, produced by John Agnello (best known for his work with Sonic Youth, Dinosaur Jr., and Kurt Vile), has the songstress, originally best-known for a moody brand of alt. country, continue to explore her love of ‘90s alt rock, which was first heard on 2014’s Make My Head Sing. Beautifully unsettling (and upsetting), the album chronicles her time in and journey out of an abusive marriage, which she’s dealt with for much of her 28-year-old life. While undeniably hard to listen to, from a narrative perspective, it’s clear that Mayfield is in a better and stronger state because of what she’s overcome, so her latest songs, albeit morose, are ultimately hopeful, even if, at times, only momentarily. I recently got a chance to catch up with Jessica Lea Mayfield for the first time in three years and, despite the weight of her latest work, she is quite light-hearted and even implies that her stop at Boot & Saddle next week will be an occasion to rock.
Izzy Cihak: First of all, I know your last Philly show got cancelled/postponed because of an injury. Are you feeling better, or at least better-ish? We were pretty bummed for you.
Jessica Lea Mayfield: I’m still dealing with some residual injuries, trying my best to get better every day. A lot of head and neck stuff mainly.
Izzy: I just realized that the last time we spoke was three whole years ago, when you were doing the whole Elliott Smith thing with Seth Avett (I didn’t realize it had been that long.) What have been some of the highlights of the past three years for you? You’ve played a lot of really big shows and worked with a lot of really amazing people.
Jessica: Thanks, that tour was a lot of fun. And that’s a tough one. I can say for sure one thing was making this new record last year with John Agnello. That was a real treat.
Izzy: Your latest album, Sorry Is Gone, has been out for a little while now. Have you had any favorite reactions to the record?
Jessica: It’s been fun sharing these songs live and seeing people sing along and know the words. I guess I’m just surprised with how quickly people connected to it.
Izzy: And you’ve been on the road for almost a month now. How has that been? Any highlights so far?
Jessica: About two months, home for a few days, and leave for another month. Similar to my last answer, I’m just surprised to see people take to the album so quickly and relate some openly.
Izzy: What can be expected of the live show when you play Boot & Saddle? It’s already been sold out for quite some time, so we’re obviously quite excited for it.
Jessica: I’m looking forward to it! Songs from all of my albums, full rock band style 🙂
Izzy: For that matter, do you have any thoughts on or favorite memories of Philadelphia? You’ve played here a handful of times in the past.
Jessica: Oh, I end up in Philly a lot. Nothing comes to mind now, but I’m sure for the next few days weird memories are gonna pop up and I’m gonna wonder, “Wait, did that happen in Philly? [laughs]”
Izzy: I really love your recent music videos, especially the ones for “Meadow” and your cover of “To Heck with Ole Santa Claus.” What is it that inspires the visual elements of your work?
Jessica: I just choose directors who have an aesthetic I like. I’m a fun and colorful person in general, so I love working with creative and colorful people
Izzy: On a related note, you also have really amazing sartorial style. What is it that inspires your sense of fashion? Not to sound lame, but do you have any particularly significant “style icons?”
Jessica: Dolly, the Golden Girls, Scott Weiland?
Izzy: Finally, what’s next for you, after this round of dates wraps?
Jessica: Probably more touring and writing and recording, chilling with my dog and figuring out what life for me looks like!