Shuffle: Folk Duo Cave Twins Drawn Together by Song

Mar 14, 2019

David Mayfield and Abby Rose have reunited after experiencing a turning point in their musical careers.

Performing as Cave Twins, the duo is set to release its debut album, “Best Friends for Now,” at two back-to-back shows at Rialto Theatre in Kenmore March 15 and 16.

Two musicians at a crossroads
Mayfield, a Grammy-nominated producer and prolific Americana/Bluegrass musician, has returned to Ohio after spending several years living in Nashville.

The singer-songwriter ran himself ragged with an extensive tour schedule fronting The David Mayfield Parade.

“I sort of got burned out on the road with The David Mayfield Parade because we were doing 240 shows a year for a while there, and I just had no life,” Mayfield says.

Rose had left her post in Kent-based, indie-folk band The Speedbumps and was honing her skills as a solo performer.

After a chance encounter at an open mic night in Akron, the two joined forces during a major transitional period in their lives.

“I was trying to get out into the music world a little bit more because I kind of stayed home a lot,” Rose said.

Mayfield says he made the choice to return to Ohio and settle down because he realized it was “at the heart of it all.”

The Ohio-born singer-songwriter was raised in a household of musicians, growing up playing in his family’s bluegrass band and later as a backing player for sister Jessica Lea Mayfield.

Working together to build a recording studio

'We make Bradley Cooper and Lady Gaga look like Tenacious D'

After Mayfield met Rose, the two decided to embark upon a new project in their musical trajectory – renovating a recording studio, which Mayfield now owns and operates.

“There was an old studio in Canton that was a studio in the 70s, and it closed in the early 80s, and it had just been sort of a storage space until I found it,” Mayfield says. “And then Abby and I restored it and brought it back to life.”

Mayfield opened Sweetside Recording Company with Rose assisting in setting up and soundproofing the space.

The studio is filled with vintage equipment, and a host of Americana, country, folk and rock ‘n’ roll musicians have passed through to record.

Local players Hey Mavis, The Cory Grinder Band and Enhailer are among those who have worked with Mayfield at his studio since its opening.

Cave Twins’ debut album was recorded, mixed and mastered at Mayfield’s studio.

Releasing the first Cave Twins album

Cave Twins, Abby Rose and David Mayfield
Credit Cave Twins

“Best Friends for Now” will include accompanying music videos for each of its tracks.

Cave Twins shared the animated video for its song, “Buddy I’ll Be There,” which features whimsical whistling and jaunty strings.

The video for the duo’s single, “Keep On Singin'” is filled with nostalgic images of children, juxtaposed with Rose and Mayfield as adults today, touring and goofing around backstage and on the road.

Mayfield wrote the lyrics for the song and passed it on to Rose to flesh out.

“Once she got ahold of it, it was perfect,” Mayfield said. “I tweaked the lyrics once her melody was introduced, so that was a good example of our collaborative process.”

The pair often talk about how they are on a similar wavelength, jokingly reiterating that they are “identical twins separated at birth but reunited in song,” Mayfield says.

Building audiences with intimate performances 
Rose and Mayfield are recognized for their intimate, gentle performances that can make an expansive venue feel as small as a friend’s living room.

Mayfield plucks his mandolin while Rose strums her guitar, all the while facing each other as if having a close conversation rather than playing out for a crowd.

“I’ve been a professional musician pretty much my whole life,” Mayfield says. “You see a lot of pretentious ego-serving nonsense, and I just get tired of seeing musicians go up there, and it’s just like, ‘you’re so lucky to get to hear my music.’ With Cave Twins, we face each other, we look at each other, we lock in. We’re not trying to serve some kind of ego or pretend that we’re rock stars.”

Each of Cave Twins’ original songs are hushed but playful. The pair’s sound has been compared to that of Moldy Peaches and the Civil Wars.

Cave Twins will officially release their debut album March 15.

“It’s fun to watch (us perform) because we’re engaging to people, and it’s kind of like when we’re in our own world on stage, people get to see that,” Rose says.

When they’re not locked in to their performance, it’s not unusual to hear Mayfield and Rose cracking jokes and laughing.

Their songs contain uplifting, vulnerable lyrics, while their performance style is akin to a conversation between close friends that engages rooms large and small.

“We’ve had people comment that it’s kind of like you’re eavesdropping or watching … We make Bradley Cooper and Lady Gaga look like Tenacious D,” Mayfield says, referencing the movie "A Star Is Born."