BY LEE ZIMMERMAN
With his second album David Mayfield comes full circle, reconciling his affection for traditional bluegrass with the new breed of forward thinking raconteurs like the Avett Brothers, Mumford and Sons and the Lumineers. No surprise then that both Seth Avett and Dierks Bentley make appearances here, or that a rare cover, “Tempted,” is penned by Marty Stuart. And given the fiddle frenzy that precedes track number one, “Love Will Only Break Your Heart,” Mayfield’s essential template is quickly established.
Still, it’s also fairly obvious that Mayfield isn’t one to play by the book, or, for that matter, by the hook; the kooky comic book motif aside, Mayfield’s off-the–cuff delivery bows to his distinctive persona. Songs that start out in low-key mode — “Human Cannonball” and “Was It Only Me” in particular — build to a heightened crescendo, creating a dramatic arc in the process. Even so, anyone with a craving for rustic Americana — frayed edges and all — will find Mayfield and company effective practitioners. With the exception of the oddly out of sync “Trapped Under the Ice,” these tunes come across as ruggedly resilient; whether it’s a dogged road song like “The Willow and the Babe” or the dark and tentative “From a Dream,” they reflect the talents of an artist who can claim a distinctive personality and perspective.
As the title implies, it’s hard to keep a good man down, and considering the results offered herein, why would anyone try?
DOWNLOAD: “Love Will Only Break Your Heart,” “The Willow and the Babe,” “Human Cannonball”