The David Mayfield Parade and David Wax Museum
September 7th, 2012
Doors 7pm/ Show 8pm
Picture him leaving the 1956 Flex tour bus David Mayfield and his family called home to start his nightly shift at the tool and die along side his father it’s easy to understand why he celebrates every performance he’s afforded. Growing up in Kent, Ohio, David was surrounded by Bluegrass music. At the age of twelve he was playing bass for the family band, traveling from festival to festival, along with his younger sister, noted songstress, Jessica Lea Mayfield, singing and absorbing the stories and lessons taught by road hard veterans, all the while picking up tips on how to play a lick on guitar or mandolin. By the time he was a teenager, Mayfield had won several national awards for his guitar and mandolin playing and his reputation was being forged in the world of Bluegrass as a player to watch out for. Things changed however when the family parked their bus in the heart of Country Music USA. Settling in Nashville, with the hopes of finding a steady gig that would allow for some stability, struggling to survive on music alone, David’s father took a job in a machine shop working the graveyard shift, while 16-year-old David got hired to sweep its floors. Once the last day shift worker and office staffer had left the building, voices would soar over the roar of machinery. Father and son while working to keep the family afloat, would simply sing. As if they hadn’t a care in the world. Mayfield recalls it as one of his happiest memories. The family eventually moved back to their hometown in Ohio but David returned a few year later and after a stint of all night “gun-for-hire” gigs in the tourist filled honky-tonks that line downtown Nashville, Mayfield auditioned for country hit maker Andy Griggs. He got the gig and hit the road, eventually landing several appearances on the coveted Grand Ole Opry stage. In 2008 when Jessica Lea Mayfield was ready to make her debut record, Blasphemy So Heartfelt, she asked David to play bass on it. He did. And over the next two years he would tour as her bassist, and as a newly minted lead guitarist, as well as a contributing songwriter for folk rock favorites Cadillac Sky, whose last album “Letters In The Deep” was produced by Dan Auerbach (Black Keys) but his side man role is just one of the many musical paths this Grammy-nominated artist has journeyed, all while writing and performing his own songs. But it was while on the road with Jessica that Avett Brothers, Scott and Seth took notice of Mayfield’s musicianship and the three quickly developed a friendship, leading them to invite David to sit in with them dozens of times including their 2010 Bonnaroo & Merlefest sets. After urging him more and more to make a record of his own, when he took to the studio the Avett’s were quick to lend their voices. David Mayfield Parade is the culmination of that encouragement. The music and showmanship reflects the numerous influences that come from a lifetime of being immersed in American music and channeling its unique forms with sincerity and celebration from the howl of early rock-n-roll, to the low lonesome twang of folk and country with a voice that is all at once heartbreaking and inherently hopeful.
David Wax Museum
When future music historians look back at the strong currents circulating between the Americas in the 21st century, they will find Los Lobos, Calexico, and a charismatic, lanky Missourian singing tight harmony with a Southern belle rattling the jawbone of a donkey. David Wax and Suz Slezak form the artistic core of the David Wax Museum, and together with multi-instrumentalist Greg Glassman, fuse traditional Mexican folk with American roots and indie rock to create a Mexo-Americana aesthetic. Combining Latin rhythms, infectious melodies, and call-and-response hollering, DWM was hailed by TIME for its “virtuosic musical skill and virtuous harmonies” and has built a reputation among concertgoers all over the U.S, Canada, Europe and China for “kicking up a cloud of excitement with their high-energy border-crossing sensibility” (The New Yorker). With the release of Knock Knock Get Up (September 2012), David Wax Museum has reached a level of cross-cultural integration and musical fluency that allows them to speak electrifying and heartfelt poetry with a tongue that is wholly their own.
Knock Knock Get Up is a fiercely original, rhythmically undeniable love letter to the Museum’s growing global audience. It’s peppered with field recordings and natural sounds from the city of Santiago, Tuxtla in the Mexican state of Veracruz. From deep in sun-drenched southern Mexico where most of the album’s songs were conceived, the earliest version of Knock Knock Get Up travelled all the way to the frozen winter landscape of the Great North Sound Society in southern Maine. The album is the band’s second made in collaboration with producer Sam Kassirer (Josh Ritter), and was recorded in a month-long marathon at Kassirer’s rustic farmhouse studio in January 2012. The Wax Museum’s fourth LP is a mature and playful evolution of the band’s sound: classical Mexican strumming patterns are translated onto electric guitars sporting halos of fuzz; the leona, a deep-voiced traditional Mexican guitar plays licks like an old-time, stand-up bass; and the track “Vivian” was first written as a bluegrass hoedown before it grew a Caribbean inspired accordion hook and a Brazilian drum part in the studio. With an expanded musical palate of autoharps, organs and mariachi trumpet loops, Knock Knock Get Up is gritty, intoxicating and vibrantly lush.
David Wax Museum’s eclectic sound has deep roots in Mexican and American soil. On several trips south of the border, including a yearlong Harvard fellowship, David Wax has immersed himself in the country’s rich traditional music culture, son mexicano, learning from the form’s living masters. Suz Slezak was homeschooled by her father on a small farm in rural Virginia, and reared on music – old time, Irish, classical, and folk. The two met in 2007 and began blending their unique musical perspectives to form the band.
The bonfire of success David Wax Museum has kindled with its innovative, grass-roots approach is currently roaring. After years busking at house concerts and touring with The Avett Brothers, the Carolina Chocolate Drops, and the Old 97s, DWM picked up the 2010 Boston Music Awards Americana Artist of the Year. In 2011 they released their second album, the acclaimed Everything Is Saved. The album’s single “Born with a Broken Heart” won the BMA’s Song of the Year. But critical mass came with the band’s breakout performance at the 2010 Newport Folk Festival, an opportunity won by DWM fans in an online competition. NPR called their concert at Newport a highlight of the entire weekend, Bob Boilen of All Songs Considered filed their sound under “pure, irresistible joy”, and the Museum was invited back to Newport to play the 2011 main stage. With an illustration in The New Yorker, #8 on Paste Magazine’s list of the Best Live Acts of 2011, and a nod from TIME magazine as one of the top ten acts of 2011’s South by Southwest, David Wax Museum has become one of the hottest new indie bands around.