Concert Reviews
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Live Review: Jessica Lea Mayfield at Birmingham’s The Bottletree (7/29)

on August 01, 2011, 11:45am

The Bottletree is Birmingham’s best kept secret. Bands that play there are constantly raving about it in a way that you never hear other venues discussed. Case in point, in a recent interview with Pitchfork, Cults called it their favorite venue. Friday night The Bottletree played host to the last date of Jessica Lea Mayfield’s tour – it was quite an intimate experience.

You listen to Mayfield on her records and you expect a woman weathered by years of battles with love. You see her live and you find a woman much younger than expected. At 21 years old, Mayfield may have a young face but she’s got a mature soul experienced well beyond her years. In other words, she’s young but her feelings are not.

On Friday, Mayfield came out wearing an outfit reminiscent of those worn by older country musicians. Her dress had one long sleeve on one side and no sleeve on the other. Thrown over the top was an American flag guitar strap. Her “get up” was a nod to her roots, however. Mayfield’s first tour was at the age of eight in an old touring bus that had belonged to Bill Monroe, Kitty Wells, and Ernest Tubb.

jlm 1 Live Review: Jessica Lea Mayfield at Birminghams The Bottletree (7/29)

Photo by Meghan Stacy.

Seeing Mayfield live makes you understand her songs even better. The expressionless look on her face when she sings, “You can touch me if you wanna, oh I don’t really care” or “I could care less about you/Care less about you/And I love the sound of you walking away” is real. She sings these songs with a glazed over, disinterested look in her eyes. In contrast to that on her solo song “Standing in the Sun”, she sang, “I would like to see you live/Standing in the sun/Not survive but really live.” The set consisted of songs from both of her LPs, including her 2011 release Tell Me. Mayfield is currently touring with a dynamite backing band that rocks the normally soft songs out and adds another layer.

jlm 2 Live Review: Jessica Lea Mayfield at Birminghams The Bottletree (7/29)In between songs, she chatted with the crowd, often mentioning how much she loves the Bottletree and the intimacy of its shows. “This is the most romantic evening I’ve had on this tour”, she said. “This is one of the best venues in America.” She also added, “I subconsciously made my living room look like the Bottletree.” Mayfield also joked, “Between songs I always feel like I’m on an awkward first date.”

Given it was the finale of the tour, you could feel the energy and excitement that the band felt in closing it out. They finished the show with a version of “I Can’t Lie to You” that tugged the curtains down with a five minute instrumental jam session, working the crowd and themselves into a fury. It was the definitive grand finale.

Photography by Meghan Stacy.

Blue Skies Again
Somewhere In Your Heart
For Today
I’m Not Lonely
Standing in the Sun (Solo)
Sleepless (Solo)
I’ll be the One
Sometimes at Night
Kiss Me Again
Grown Man
The One I Love Best
Run Myself Into the Ground
Our Hearts Are Wrong
Nervous Lonely Night
I Can’t Lie to You

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