Seth Avett & Jessica Lea Mayfield: Seth Avett & Jessica Lea Mayfield Sing Elliott Smith (Ramseur) Review | Under the Radar Magazine Under the Radar | Music Blog for the Indie Music Magazine
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Issue #53 - April/May 2015 - Tame ImpalaSeth Avett & Jessica Lea Mayfield

Seth Avett & Jessica Lea Mayfield Sing Elliott Smith


May 27, 2015 Seth Avett & Jessica Lea Mayfield Bookmark and Share

One of those Avett brothers and the singular Jessica Lea Mayfield team up here for a 12-song tribute to Elliott Smith, whose life ended in tragedy and whose songs often plied the same trade. It’s a stripped-down, heartfelt affair, with the duo sticking largely to simple folk arrangements, sweetly harmonizing and swaying wistfully through their Smith favorites.

Most of these are not really reinterpretations so much as simple fireside performances of his incomparable material, and as such they put the spotlight right back on the source, even lending added emphasis to the simple brilliance of his lyrics and melodyalong with a little bit of warm country twang. Standouts like “Ballad of Big Nothing” or “Between the Bars” translate directly, and remain just as visceral and laid bare as the original versions.

Other songs stretch things just a hint, most notably “Angeles,” which gets a reverbed-out half-time treatment. It can be jarring if you’ve obsessed over every impossibly beautiful note of the song since its release and can’t imagine how a human could possibly create something so perfectly poignant and crushing. Are we digressing? Here’s the thing: regardless of which of Smith’s songs you most cherish or fetishize, chances are Avett and Mayfield share your opinion. It shows. (

Author rating: 7/10

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Average reader rating: 9/10


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May 27th 2015

This is a very good opportunity to get free amazon gift card codes.

May 28th 2015

I saw them at the wiltern & it was the most amazing show of my life, the song selection was genius.  I agree he belches on Angeles, but I think its somewhat purposeful.  All my favorite Elliot Smith songs changed after the show & they opened a new world to me.  Seth’s Rain on my tin roof is my new fav.  they are a potent duo and I’d fly across the world to see them perform again.