David Lee's family moved to Ohio from the beautiful state of Wild, Wonderful, West Virginia, and Valerie Fay's parent's moved to Ohio from the Blueridge mountains of Virginia and the appalachian mountains of Kentucky.
Valerie grew up performing with her family band known as "The Sargent Family" the real spelling of the family name is "Sergeant" and that's another story.... anyway her family band had a house gig every Saturday night down at "The Strand Theater" in Alliance, they were sponsored by the "Collin's Dairy Store" and her father even wrote a little gingle, which was sang at the beginning of every show.. Her father "Victor Sargent" could sing just like "Lester Flatt" and he was a good lookin man, and her brother played his gold Vega 5-string banjo, they all sang and her and brother "Larry Ray Sargent" could really sing some sweet harmony! Valerie played the electric bass and sang lead and harmony vocals... she specialized in singing just about everything Loretta Lynn has out on record..
Valerie's mother "Goldie Lea Sargent" was in charge of getting their clothes ready, and they always dressed up and looked really sharp... her father and brother dressed like "Lester and Earl" which if you haven't guessed by now were their idles... I remember not having very many outfits to were to school, but my stage clothes were goregous, gold, sparkle and glittery, and some were frilly...and I had the ever popular white go go boots!
To later find out after Valerie grows up and marries David Lee, that he to had performed down at "The Strand Theater" so they actually crossed paths how sweet is that.....
Meet the Mayfields: Parents of famous offspring carve their own musical niche
By Steve Wildsmith | firstname.lastname@example.org |
David and Valerie Mayfield don’t shy away from associating themselves with their more famous offspring.
The couple makes it a point, they told The Daily Times this week, to tell fans that they are indeed the parents of singer-songwriter Jessica Lea Mayfield and David Mayfield, bandleader of the David Mayfield Parade.
“We want them to come see us and see where (the kids) got their talent!” David said with a laugh. “Right now, we’re on tour together as a duet, and we’re calling it ‘The Kids Aren’t Holding Us Back’ tour, because we think we’re a lot better without them!”
He kids, of course — the Mayfields would be falling down on the job if they didn’t spend some of their empty nest years giving their children a hard time. But the music he and his wife make together stands wholly on its own, anchored in the musical journey they’ve been on together for 35 years.
Back then, they were both at a bluegrass festival; their love story has touched a number of fans over the years, and they’ll no doubt tell it again from the stage at Barley’s Maryville on Saturday night, but it goes something like this:
“We didn’t know each other, but we both were standing around a bonfire at this festival,” David said. “It was getting late, and I was standing on one side of the fire, and she was standing on the other, and we both sort of locked eyes. I walked over and we didn’t even introduce ourselves — we just started holding hands.”
Both were budding musicians — David on guitar and Valerie on bass with her family’s band. David started out playing with Valerie’s brother in the bluegrass band Allen Creek Coal Company, but eventually Valerie got back into music, this time on mandolin, and the two decided to start a family band called One Way Rider.
“We played country music for the line dancers all over the country,” Valerie said. “We played some bluegrass — Alison Krauss, Ricky Skaggs — but country was extremely easy for us to cover, and it was really good country music. We were raising the kids and working five or six days a week with a seven-piece country band and roadies and the whole shebang.”
The turbulent economic times of the 1980s made it difficult to keep so many musicians and support personnel on the payroll, however, and the two discovered that when they performed solely as a duet, they were just as well received. They scaled back to a two-piece, and eventually their son became adept enough on bass to join them. Jessica followed, and the Mayfields were a four-piece band again.
“It was hard at times,” Valerie said. “We had regular jobs, so we would work for a while, then we’d go back to playing music full time, then we’d go back to our jobs and playing music on the side. After the kids started doing their own thing, we just decided, let’s do it! We had started as a duet, and now we’re back to it. It’s kind of romantic in that way.”
The blend they bring to the stage is more than just harmonious. Both come from different schools of bluegrass: Valerie from a more traditional background, while David was always drawn to more contemporary bands.
“When we came together, we did a combination of both, from New Grass Revival to Carter Stanley,” David said. “We’ll do some funny songs and tell funny stories, and then we’ll do some romantic songs. We just try to entertain people. For many years, I worked in a machine shop, and no matter how good of a job I did, or how good the part I made was, no one actually applauded me at the end of the day or asked for an autograph. But here on the road, you meet so many people, it just fills your heart when they applaud and appreciate what you do.”
And that’s something that makes their children proud, Valerie added.
“They hear other people talk about what cool parents they have, so I think they’re proud of us,” she said. “We’ve had a hard life. We always struggled, we were never rich, and we’re still out there working at it, trying to make a living and be happy. but I think our kids are humble because of that.”