The parade’s in town! The David Mayfield Parade, to be exact.
It’s something the bluegrass musician has been building toward all his life. Although Mayfield’s released albums, he’s never toured for them. His experiences as a sideman built his confidence to broaden his horizons, resulting in an album that covers his widest musical expanse to date.
The self-titled debut runs from rockabilly rave-ups to tender folk ballads. It’s another feather in the cap for an artist who’s played alongside The Avett Brothers, and Mumford & Sons.
“The whole concept for the Parade really focuses around the live show,” Mayfield said. “Making the album was more about sculpting a moment, as opposed to just ‘here’s a group of songs that might not have anything to do with each other.’ This one felt more like this is the event.”
It’s an attitude he adopted while playing in his parents’ bluegrass band at age 12. He dropped out of ninth grade to be home-schooled on the bus as they toured the country, along with his sister, Jessica Lea Mayfield, now a successful alt-country singer/songwriter. The experience instilled a hardworking attitude that still drives him.
“It definitely put me in the mindset that you could do what you love for a living if you work at it. It gave me the work ethic of going out and putting on a quality show every time,” said Mayfield. “It’s a service you’re providing when people pay their hard-earned money to see a show.”
In his 20s, he found near-immediate work as a utility musician for country star Andy Griggs. The gig lasted two years, opening for acts like Brad Paisley and Sugarland, but grew old.
“It got to the point where it was like, ‘OK, one more county fair where everyone on stage is drunk and doesn’t care.’ It just really started to feel a lot more like work than something called ‘playing’ should feel,” he said. “It wasn’t a hard choice to take the huge pay cut and go on tour with my sister.”
After that, he joined Cadillac Sky, a popular alt-country/newgrass troupe, becoming a principal songwriter.
“It opened my eyes and kind of validated my music,” he said, “making me feel like maybe someone does want to hear what I have to say.”
When Cadillac Sky went on semi-permanent hiatus last year, Mayfield made the Parade a reality. He couldn’t be happier.
“We played a pub in Glen Rock, Penn., to maybe 11 people, and it might’ve been our favorite show we’ve ever played,” he said. “You feel less scrutinized, because when there are 11 people, they’re all looking at you, and you can see them.”