Posts Tagged ‘Sorry Is Gone’

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If you are familiar with Jessica Lea Mayfield’s then you should need no incentive to check out her new album – it is quite possibly her best yet, combining all that is great about her previous recordings and even venturing into some lighter poppier territory than she has previously. Don’t let that fool you though, as this album features some of her darkest and most personal music, written as it was in both the aftermath and the full force of an abusive relationship. Mayfield has always been an incredible lyricist, with a twisted and unique world view that I suspect stems from her unorthodox upbringing. Never one to filter, here she hits home on track after track.

Many of the songs still feature “Make My Head Sing’s” grunge-tastic sound (Sonic Youth producer John Agnello and drummer Steve Shelley no doubt helping in that regard). “Wish You Could See Me Know” and “Meadow” rock out as if the 90s had never been away.

Jessica Lee Mayfield performing live in the KEXP studio. Recorded February 2nd, 2018.

Songs: Wish You Could See Me Now,  Offa My Hands,  Meadow, Sorry Is Gone

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‘Sorry is Gone’ is available everywhere . The whole record is about me taking my life back, without really realizing it. I realized I’m the only person that is going to look out for me. I have to be my main person. No one else. I have to sing about things and write about things that have happened to me as therapy. That’s what connects me to other music I listen to. I want music to make me feel things. This is my inner dialogue, and my chance to get the last word.

Jessica Lea Mayfield might make some people uncomfortable with the level of honesty she projects on her forthcoming LP, “Sorry Is Gone”, but she’s not going to apologize – for that, or for anything else on her complex, confessional fourth album. Recorded with producer John Agnello (Sonic Youth, Kurt Vile, Phosphorescent and Dinosaur Jr.), Sorry Is Gone is a raw document of a woman in progress; one weathering cruel storms but finally able to blame the rain itself for the flood. Written as the truth of her own poisonous marriage unfolded before her eyes, Sorry Is Gone is a record of permission. Permission to create freely, to escape what is no longer safe and to stop bearing responsibility for things done to her, not by her. As Mayfield sings on the title track, “the sorry is gone.” Indeed, it is; kicked to the curb with every strum of her guitar.

Written in the years since her last solo LP, Make My Head Sing, in 2014, and her 2015 collaboration with Seth Avett and Jessica Lea Mayfield Sing Elliott Smith, Sorry Is Gone became the soundtrack to a highly personal and traumatic story. The Ohio-born Mayfield was quietly enduring years of domestic abuse, smiling and touring while she hid a brewing tempest – and the bruises, too. But lyrics don’t lie even as bruises fade, and they started to tell the tale of her marriage before she was even able to; songs often dark and dangerous and ready to confront and claim her life. Written primarily on an acoustic baritone guitar – out of necessity at first, in her thin-walled apartment – Mayfield started to process the years of hurt and uncertainly through words and melodies that helped her see the light in the darkness.

Though much of Make My Head Sing was written music-first, Sorry Is Gone began with those lyrics, and, so often, a path forward unfolded itself as the songs formed. “The cold hard truth is you love me too much,” she sings on “Meadow” a moody, echoey moment about finally realizing someone’s true colors. “The cold hard truth is you couldn’t love me enough.” It’s a brutal line from someone who refuses to be victimized. Evoking the pathos of nineties grunge, the folk confessions of her idol, Smith, and the cool blasé of bands like Luscious Jackson, the tracks that comprise Sorry Is Gone aren’t devised to make anyone comfortable but herself – but they are there to help share an emotional journal and a certain kind of healing that can only come through music.

“I have to sing about things and write about things that have happened to me as therapy,” says Mayfield, who shaped so many of these songs in the isolation of the small apartment she shared with her husband while their marriage fell apart in her hands – in many ways, those songs pointed to the way out before she could get there herself. “That’s what connects me to other music I listen to. I want music to make me feel things. This is my inner dialogue, and my chance to get the last word.”

Recorded with Agnello at Water Music and Electric Lady Studios, Mayfield recruited a stellar group of musicians for Sorry Is Gone, including Avett on backing vocals and keys, drummer Steve Shelley (Sonic Youth, Sun Kil Moon), bassist Emil Amos (Grails, Holy Sons), guitarist Cameron Deyell (Sia, Streets of Laredo) and Patrick Damphier (The Mynabirds, Field Days, who produced and played on “Offa My Hands”). Together, they worked to create an ominous take on love, where hope can exist among heartbreak and the end is only as finite as we make it to be. On songs like the title track and “Bum Me Out,” Mayfield bends the angelic notes of her voice over off-kilter orchestration, building an environment of warrior-style triumph; on “Safe 2 Connect 2” she takes stock of the digital world to a haunting, acoustic backdrop that gives a subtle ode to her bluegrass roots.

“Been though hell, there’s no telling what might happen in my future,” she sings. “All I can do is be thankful for each moment that’s my own.”

Mayfield has paved an unconventional lifestyle – playing in her family’s bluegrass band since the age of eight, she didn’t have any traditional schooling and released her first album at the age of fifteen, when she was discovered by Dan Auerbach of the Black Keys. Influenced by everything from that mountain sound to the modern garage, Mayfield has been able to come at songwriting from a pure perspective, lead more by her heart than any textbook. It’s what makes the tracks of Sorry Is Gone so striking and visceral – there is no filter on the emotions, no rulebook and certainly no excuses for anything she’s been through or the candor she fires.

“I’m not going to bite my lip on anything,” she says. “If there is one thing I am going to do, it’s talk and sing about what I want to. No one is going to manipulate me.”

The sorry is gone, once and for all – and Sorry Is Gone is a permission slip for anyone who wants to stop apologizing for others, and start living for themselves. ●

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Full disclosure, To date everything Jessica Lea Mayfield creates including her latest album fits nicely between her breakthrough Tell Me and her previous album Make My Head Sing.

On her latest release, she has seemed to find her confidence again. After a public split up at the result of domestic violence, the album takes a whole new angle with a courageous narrative of a songwriter who no longer feels bound by “Sorry”. The title track is some of the most pop heavy on the album, yet still carries the weight of her trademark heartbreak well. “Meadow” showcases her guitar distortion that was so refreshing on her last release. What makes Jessica Lea Mayfield such a talent is her achingly poignant lyrics that somehow are sung with a sweet detachment that draws listeners in.

Perhaps our favorite lyric is found on “Maybe Whatever” with her ability to rhyme shotgun with futon. Yet with Mayfieldthere is always more going on than what is found on the surface. Honest and brave, “Sorry is Gone” is definitely one of the most phenomenal releases of this year and finds a songwriter who continues to fight demons with the proper amount of guitar and melancholy vocals.

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On her latest album, Sorry Is Gone, Ohio-bred songstress Jessica Lea Mayfield creates a manifesto for living apology-free. Chronicling an abusive marriage, she manages to find great beauty in the pain and betrayal, making her most melodic, soulful album to date.

Watch Jessica Lea Mayfield live at Paste Studio NYC!

Songs :

Meadow, Offa My Hands, Sorry Is Gone,

Jessica Lea Mayfield is an indie rock singer songwriter from Nashville by way of Kent, Ohio. She has a bit of a storybook background and she has a couple of more recent life chapters that are more like nightmares. Her parents were in a touring bluegrass band, and she grew up on a tour bus. She was home schooled, and obviously learned a lot about music. She started playing with the family band when she was 8, then she started playing rock shows with her brother David. When she was 15, she got a bedroom-recorded EP in the hands of Dan Auerbach out of Black Keys. He loved it, and got it in someone else’s hands, and she had a record deal just like that. In 2008, at the age of 19, she released her first album With Blasphemy, So Heartfelt, and it got rave reviews. The story goes that the album was about an off-and-on boyfriend who resented being her muse. He hated that the songs were about him even though nobody had any way of knowing that. As the story goes, he would break up with her every time she wrote a new song.

Her next album Tell Me was a very autobiographical record that she described as being about her turning the tables. It’s about her being mean to boys and deliberately breaking their hearts instead of vice versa. That album still had a very alt-folk/alt-country feel, but the next record was quite different.

Then in 2014 her album Make My Head Sing took her in a completely different direction. It was much more rock-oriented, with flavours of grunge and punk. It was also, coincidentally, her first album without the production of Auerbach. Instead, she got her now ex-husband to work the knobs and faders. She had undergone a lot of changes and the album was sort of about change.

Jessica Lea Mayfield depends on vocal demeanor to bring out the emotional nuances in her writing. She’s got quite a range: She can sound spacey and serene, or distant and suspicious, or fiercely sure of herself. Her raw fourth album, Sorry Is Gone, has a series of songs about escape from damaging relationships, and each is conveyed through its own weather system. There are outbreaks of snarling bitterness followed by moments of calm, and times when inner turmoil is masked under a coating of honeyed pop exuberance. Mayfield released a long-awaited fourth album–“Sorry is Gone”— on September 29th of this year.

None of those moods quite prepare the listener for the aura Mayfield uses on “Safe 2 Connect 2.” The song begins with a Google-search confession, sung in a numb, defeated, robotic monotone: “Getting tips on how to feel more human,” Mayfield intones solemnly. “Or how to un-dehumanize someone, I’m only asking for a friend.”

It’s just two lines, delivered listlessly, with no passion or pyrotechnic dazzle. And that’s all Mayfield needs to plunge deep into the Dark Forest of Existential Gloom, where disconsolate types wander around asking their digital bots questions like “Is there no one…it’s safe to…connect to anymore?” The song ends with Mayfield sounding more resigned than before (if that’s possible) as she states her sad conclusion, over and over again.

Simply constructed and executed with a haunting sense of detachment, “Safe 2 Connect 2” is one of many signals that Mayfield has evolved since 2014’s Make My Head Sing. Her songs are tighter, their moods more fully developed. She’s using more direct language, yet somehow her songs have more dimension: The title track sounds, from a distance, like a celebration of empowerment, a jangle of buoyant and affirmative pop. Get closer, and you begin to discern scars marking an abusive relationship, and the intensity of feeling that attends the cycles of apology and reconciliation.

That album release, unfortunately, was bookended by some events that physically and emotionally injured her. Before the album came out, she was hospitalized with injuries that stemmed from a series of domestic abuse incidents. She had a broken shoulder, which immobilized her arm, which makes playing music really hard. There were other injuries that she had been dealing with for years, but she said that her abusive husband wouldn’t allow her to go to the doctor. Evidently, he was also stealing her money. I don’t know why she stayed with him after the abuse started, or after it persisted, but she finally got out of that relationship.

Last month, just before the album release, she was involved in an automobile accident that resulted in even more injuries. Another driver fell asleep at the wheel, and rear-ended her causing injuries to her neck, ribs, hips, and knees. It didn’t stop the release of the album, and she hoped that she would be able to recover in time to play the east coast shows that were already scheduled for October/November. Yesterday, she announced that those shows have been canceled and that she will need a few more months to go through physical therapy.

All of those physical injuries and emotional trauma are certainly very heavy, but it’s a great album. Once again, it’s a bit different to her folk/bluegrass roots. Just as she did with Make My Head Sing, she opens Sorry is Gone with a lot of noise. The album-opening “Wish You Could See Me Now” is fuzzy and heavy with tons of delay on the vocals. It’s almost, even, shoegazey. I love that song, but it’s not our song of the day. Our song of the day is a perfect blend of her roots and her new “rock” direction. It’s got a bit of 90s college radio sound, and even a bit of a surf-rock sound . Of course it’s highlighted by her signature rocky/drawly/sweet/sour voice.

Her tour has been canceled for now. While we hope that she’s able to reschedule later, we’re more interested in her full recovery from her myriad injuries. We also hope that she’s able to get and afford the care that she needs both physically and emotionally.

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Jessica Lea Mayfield is taking back her life. “Sorry Is Gone,” is the title track to her next album, a song of empowerment that finds the singer moving past a difficult period in her life. “I spent the majority of my life around people who treated me like I wasn’t important,” she says in an email, “leaving me with the feeling of needing to constantly apologize. This song represents my last apology, an apology for no longer being sorry.”

Jessica Lea Mayfield wrote “Sorry Is Gone” while separating from her husband and co-producer. Despite the weight of that, the song feels breezy, flowing and freeing. A new video for the track shows Jessica Lea Mayfield driving away, singing about leaving a space where she feels she doesn’t belong. There’s a game of musical chairs that takes place in a barren landscape while she contemplates being alone.

Sorry Is Gone is Jessica Lea Mayfield’s followup to her 2014 album Make My Head Singwhich was co-produced with her husband. It was her heaviest sounding record, at times a nod to grunge and her musical hero Dave Grohl. Sorry Is Gone was produced by John Agnello who’s mixed records by Dinosaur Jr., Sonic Youth and Kurt Vile. Seth Avett plays keys and backing vocals. He and Jessica Lea Mayfield did a record of Elliott Smith covers together a couple of years ago.

“Sorry Is Gone” is the title track of Jessica Lea Mayfield’s upcoming album “Sorry Is Gone”, out September 29th.