Singer-songwriter Matthew Mayfield is back with his latest release A Banquet For Ghosts. His most personal release to date, Mayfield raised $17,000 to record the album via Pledge Music by selling handwritten lyrics, messages in whiskey bottles and signed guitars to his fans. The standout album reveals Mayfield’s sensitive side as he sings of lost love, relationships gone wrong and his search for answers.
“We burned away a lot of the distractions and it’s just very raw and pure and honest,” he said of the recording process.
The LP begins with the emotional “Ain’t Much More to Say.” The song tells the tale of a returning lover who has made an unwanted appearance. Mayfield’s rustic vocals are at the forefront of the track and accompanied by delicate acoustic guitar, gentle strokes of the piano and wavering pedal steel.
“Take What I Can Get” picks up the pace with Mayfield’s inner dialogue displayed throughout the track. A song he cites as the most triumphant on the record it continues to take the listener on a journey. Meanwhile, the standout “Track You Down” brings together multiple genres showcasing Mayfield’s versatility. A blend of roots, blues, country and rock, foot-stomping percussion combines with striking string features. All the while his raspy vocals only add to the track. The song transforms Mayfield from simply a singer-songwriter to a major force to reckon with.
Next song, “Heart In Wire” further demonstrates this. As he alternates from a wounded whisper to a guttural growl it’s easy to feel the pain within the song. Violin parts rise and fall at the most opportune moments and further exemplify the poignant number.
The heartbreaking “I Don’t Know You At All” follows suit while title track, the stripped down “A Banquet For Ghosts” continues the somber tone. As the emotive “Beautiful” and “Safe & Sound” close the LP it’s uncertain whether or not Mayfield found what he was looking for but he hopes his listeners have a different experience.
“I want to be that record in your ears. I want to be the sound of something that’s soothing but also something that’s really heartfelt and honest,” he said.
With such a solid release, Mayfield will no doubt succeed in this.