Faith Academy student explores blues and praise through music

Faith Academy junior Joelton Mayfield entertains diners at Houston’s Depot in Marble Falls during a performance July 20. The teen began performing at 3 when the praise-band leader at First Assembly of Marble Falls handed him a pair of drumsticks while standing on stage. Photo courtesy of Karen Mayfield


MARBLE FALLS — There really hasn’t been a time in Joelton Mayfield’s young life when he hasn’t either been performing or playing an instrument. The Faith Academy junior still recalls the moment his musical journey started about 13 years ago.

Mayfield, the son of Karen and Buddy Mayfield, was 3 years old and standing at the front of the First Assembly of God Marble Falls congregation during a special presentation for the youth organization the Royal Rangers. As the presentation ended and the rest of the Rangers dispersed to go back to their seats, Mayfield stood stock still.

His father, Buddy, a bassist with the church praise band, headed for his place with the rest of the musicians. The young Mayfield looked back to where his father was going and couldn’t bring himself to go back to his seat in the congregation.

As the band start playing, the praise-band leader, sensing the youth’s dilemma, handed him a pair of drumsticks and motioned for him to go for it.

“I’ve been up there ever since,” the high school junior said with a shy grin. And he hopes to follow his musical passion throughout his life wherever it, and God, might lead him.

Now, the teen plays guitar and harmonica, but he isn’t hesitant to try his hand at just about anything that emits music. As a youth, he took piano lessons, but, five years and four teachers later, Mayfield decided he just wasn’t clicking with the instrument.

Nonetheless, the piano experience helped lay the foundation for his musical growth.

“The piano gave me a really good base to work from,” he said.

At 10, Mayfield picked up the guitar and knew he found his true musical outlet.

With a combination of lessons (he currently studies with David Horner), self-teaching and picking things up from other musicians, Mayfield has begun laying down his own musical path. The guitar allows him to quickly pick up other instruments, such as bass and even six-string banjo.

He recently added the harmonica to his repertoire.

The youth comes from a family with a musical background. His father plays bass, but his grandmother was known to play just about any instrument she tried, including piano, harp, steel guitar and several others. Most of the instruments, he said, she played without taking a lesson.

Mayfield continues to play with the church praise band and joined the Faith Academy praise band last year. He’s always on the lookout for a chance to perform in public and, on July 20, took the stage at Houston’s Depot at Old Oak Square in Marble Falls.

While he has an affinity for praise music, Mayfield said the blues is his favorite right now.

“There’s a difference between listening to music and feeling it. With the blues, you can feel it,” he said. “It feels like the instruments are crying.”

The music gives Mayfield a way to express himself.

“Some people have a diary, and they pour everything into that. Some people keep everything bottled inside until they explode,” he said. “I find my release in music, not just writing but playing.”

While he’s penned some of his own songs, Mayfield admitted a certain reluctance to performing those in public.

“I’m still a little insecure about performing my own songs in public,” he said. “I will sing them with friends and have performed some (when I) was at Houston’s Depot, but I’m still a little nervous about it.”

Time and age might change that, but, for now, he’s just happy to be playing, whether it’s for a group of folks or just a few friends.

His hope is to continue to pursue music throughout his life. While the challenges in the music industry are great, Mayfield said he isn’t worried about it.

His mom, Karen, said it’s all in God’s hands anyways.

“If it’s (Joelton’s) heart’s desire, God will make a way,” she said.

Joelton nodded.

“I want to go to college to pursue music,” he said. “When you pursue something you’re passionate about, even if you fall short (of your dream), you’re still doing something you love.”