Editors' pick

The David Mayfield Parade

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Editorial Review

Album review: "The David Mayfield Parade"

Cadillac Sky’s 2010 album “Letters in the Deep” was a milestone for the new wave of young string bands because the songs — full of strange stories and arresting melodies — were as impressive as the sounds. Crucial to that breakthrough were the contributions of guitarist David Mayfield, who left the group to launch a solo career with his self-titled debut album.

String-band stars the Avett Brothers sing and play on half the disc, but the emphasis on drums and keys moves Mayfield’s music out of the string-band world and into the realm of roots rock. But the songs — several written with pal Josh Joplin or sister Jessica Lea Mayfield — are sturdy enough to work in any genre.

The opening track, “Blue Skies Again,” is swaddled in strings and horns, but its core is finger-picking folk balladry about the cycles of death and rebirth in nature. It works because the tune is so lovely and the words so understated. “Noreen” is a rockabilly romp that boasts an equally catchy chorus. “Faraway Love” is a honky-tonk lament reinforced by pedal steel guitar and Caitlin Rose’s vocals.

“What Do You Call It” is a bouncy pop-rock tune about the reluctance of his young hipster friends to label their feelings as “love.” Fortunately, Mayfield has no such detachment from his emotions or from the plaintive melodies that accompany them.

--Geoffrey Himes, May 6, 2011