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The Opening Band

[img_assist|nid=2915|title=|desc=|link=none|align=left|width=180|height=180]When folks surrounding me at a concert mumble about not wanting to sit through the opening band, I often remind them that the headliner was once an opening band.  Sure, there are times when I might want time to hurry up so the main band can get on stage.  Yet often, I am ushered in to new music that I appreciate and maybe even become a fan.

The very first time I saw Switchfoot was as an opener band.  Now, most shows they headline.  Over the many years I have been following Switchfoot, I’ve been introduced to new bands, as well as become more familiar with more well known artists.  And since I tend to go to more than one show on a tour, I also get more than one chance to experience the openers.

Bleu, Sleeping at Last, The Format, Augustana, Eisley, Paper Tongues and The Civil Wars are just a few of the bands I have added to my music collection over the years as a result of Switchfoot tours.  But one band that stands out as a favorite is the Birmingham, Alabama based band Moses Mayfield.  I paid particular attention to the tour dates in hopes of seeing them again when rolling in to the Philadelphia area.  I missed one show, but eagerly awaited another go around.  But soon the sad news came that the band was breaking up.

Luckily, Matthew Mayfield, former lead singer and lyricist for Moses Mayfield, stayed with his call to make music.  After putting out several EP’s between 2008 and 2010, and touring mostly in the south, Matthew recently released a full-length project titled, Now You’re Free.  On April 5, 2011, the release date, Matthew posted this on his website: 

  1. It’s my first full length album as a solo artist.
  2. It’s the best batch of songs to date.
  3. This is the record I’ve been wanting to make for years.
  4. I’m touring with a band again.
  5. I want you to share it with your friends.
  6. Please let me know what you think!

While the EP’s are more on the acoustic side, as Matthew noted, this studio release is with a full band.  And despite having released so many EP’s, apparently several songs he’d written had yet to be recorded.  From his website, Matthew recalls:

By May of 2010, I had a list of 30 tunes that I still hadn’t recorded. With the help of fans, Pledge Music, and producer Paul Moak, I had the team and the resources to make my first full-length album. I headed to Nashville to make the record I’ve always wanted to make.

Matthew’s music, in my opinion, works with a band or just by himself.  He is a talented musician who deserves more attention than perhaps he has seen in the past.  And each song does not sound like another.  The diversity in the music is definitely a plus.

I obtained my copy of Now You’re Free in the mail (yes, I still like to have a CD in hand) about a week after the release, and I put it in my car a couple of days later.  And there it remains.  (It took a few days before I could peel it out of the car to get it on to my MP3 player.)  I cannot explain why his music puts such a smile on my face, but I can’t seem to get enough.  The lyrics are honest and thought-provoking.  The music is powerful and at times breathtaking.

Moses Mayfield fans will be happy that “Element” made it on to this album.  It is a great heartfelt song that I want to sing along with each time.  (Not hard in a car, but when I at work, it becomes a bit difficult.)  And if you have followed him through the EP’s, some other songs may sound familiar, but perhaps a bit more in depth due to the full band.

My current repeat song is the last track, “Grow Old With You.”  I play air tambourine along with the song in the car.  (Glad so far I have not been stopped by anyone for not having both hands on the steering wheel.)

You can check out his entire album currently on the website.  While there, check out his upcoming tour dates.  Here’s hoping I can find a way to bring his entourage to Philadelphia.  That would truly put a HUGE smile on this fan’s face!