Joelton Mayfield “I Hope You Make It” EP

Independent, 2023

Sensitive songwriting and fine tunes from this Texan newcomer’s debut EP.

Cover art for Joelton Mayfield's debut EP Mayfield is a young man from Marble Falls, Texas (not quite 20 at the time of release) and he has talent. He won a songwriting competition in 2015 and decamped to Nashville to study the music business. It didn’t suit him, so he started writing and playing until he got together a band to record this EP in their various homes, with a bit of studio time added on. The title is somewhat prophetic, as it deals with making it through family, religious and relationship trauma, and yet pre-dated COVID where lockdown forced him back home and opportunities dried up for both touring with his music and recording new songs.

The five tracks run over 20 minutes in total and are bookended by songs about family health, specifically Mayfield’s father’s poor health. “I am the reason for every check you’ve cashed, Every minute long since passed, Your father’s heart attack” (from ‘The Reason’, which was written for his mother) and “I blanket the couch, to find you sleeping, in the morning, Last month you were dead, But now everything is Normal again” from ‘Starfish’, with its insistent marching beat.

October’ is a song about being adrift with the risk of depression, while ‘Up to You’ is more optimistic in tone and its lyric gives the album its title,  and where Mayfield’s focus on the possibility of a higher power is tempered by “Good to know nothing’s up to you”.  Subtle religious undertones permeate the album.

Walk Alone’ is a fine lament for a failed relationship and it has, in common with every track, a compelling melody, especially in the chorus, and Mayfield’s generic but affecting voice, not unlike Jeff Tweedy at times. The band is excellent, Mayfield being a multi-instrumentalist on stringed instruments and with some fine guitar breaks and keyboard flavouring.  To get such an impressive production from recording in people’s houses is quite an achievement. In the round it all augurs well for a forthcoming full-length album that is on the verge of final mixing. This is a promising start from Joelton Mayfield, and if he has maintained this level as a tunesmith and wordsmith as he matures, the new album will be worth listening to.

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7/10
7/10

About FredArnold 60 Articles
Lifelong fan of predominantly US (and Canadian) country roots music. Previously an avid concert-goer before wives, kids and dogs got in the way- and although I still try to get to several, my preference for small independent venues often means standing, and that ain't too good for my ancient bones!! Still, a healthy and catholic music collection helps ease the pain
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Fred Arnold

I made a small biographical error when reviewing this album. Mayfield was nearly 22 (not nearly 20) when it was released. Still makes him a very interesting prospect!