If you’ve seen David Mayfield perform with The Avett Brothers, Mumford & Sons, Jessica Lea Mayfield, or at Bonnaroo, you’ve caught the charisma, the heart, and the comedy, and it’s likely you’ll come back for more. The David Mayfield Parade’s April 1 release “Good Man Down” begs for that same repeated enjoyment.
With eclectic, cinematic songs that stir up images of the old West and urban cityscapes, the 12-track album feels like a game changer for a singer-songwriter, band leader, and Grammy nominated producer who stepped out of the sideman shadows with his 2011 solo debut “The Parade.” He likens “Good Man Down” to “Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom.” Like “Raiders of the Lost Ark,” his first album was lighthearted and fun with nods to the past. His second is darker, creepier, more bizarre and outrageous.
He made “The Parade” without knowing if anyone would hear it, but the stakes for a follow-up were raised when his Kickstarter campaign more than doubled his initial goal of $18,000.
With a successful crowd funding campaign raising expectations, Mayfield felt it was time to take chances musically and delve into more adventurous production while tapping into his bluegrass roots. While anchored in descriptive songwriting with beautiful instrumentation including strings and horns, “Good Man Down” throws its listeners numerous musical curveballs. As producer he didn’t rein in his weirder musical tendencies. Just like his lively sometimes comical live shows, “Good Man Down” illustrates a lot of character without seeming contrived.
“Good Man Down” features notable guests Seth Avett, Mayfield’s bluegrass hero Doyle Lawson & Quicksilver, and country star Dierks Bentley who duets with Mayfield on Marty Stuart’s “Tempted.” Bentley remembered Mayfield from seeing his family’s bluegrass band play long before the former was a country star. That’s the thing. Mayfield isn’t easy to forget.