Given the growth of country music as a genre in the United Kingdom right now it is actually becoming quite difficult for acts from the US to sneak in completely under the radar of the audience over here. This Nashville based trio originally from Santa Barbara in California(that’s the abbreviated version as California is where most of the band are originally from and where they all met through the magic of social network) decided they would just go straight past that and raise the roof off The Borderline with their infectious sun kissed melodies and unique harmony arrangements not once but twice over the course of Country Music Week.
The sound that Meg McAllister, Elijah Edwards and Mason Van Valin collectively bring together as Fairground Saints incorporates the blend of meaningful and relatable lyrics over the top of infectious melodies that bring together a Californian vibe of modern country with bluegrass inspired pop hooks. The unique and diverse sound that the band delivers is a reflection of the wide scope of musical influences that the three talented musicians have. Mason talked of how “The first thing I listened to was Bob Dylan and then I moved on to Elliott Smith. I really liked the way he chose to articulate his style.” Meg had the more classic country music upbringing listening to the female greats like Dolly Parton and Patsy Cline along with plenty of R & B as “My dad played a lot in the car, so I kind of have a little bit of that influence as well.” Whilst Eli described his house growing up playing an “interesting mix of classic rock like ELO to classical music then everything in between.
Nashville became the destination for Fairground Saints after they had honed in on their sound and seemed the perfect fit incorporating their instrumentation as initially according to Meg they “just wanted to write really truthful stories” where the plan was to “make good music, find our sound and not pin it to a particular direction.” These guys put out their first record back in 2015 before they moved to Tennessee and then writing along with honing in on this sound was a focus after arriving and securing their deal with Sony. Mason expanded on the quantity of songs that they were writing of being in the area of two hundred before they ended up with the best tracks as “Great songs are flexible, you can bend them in different genres and they still function as a good song!” I really feel the appeal of these guys is the unique sound and quirky take they have on harmonies that it really is just great music that you can easily place it wherever you choose across the musical spectrum.
The first new product of this sound incorporates all of these sounds, personalities and influences in the infectious sun-kissed harmonies of “Somewhere Down The Line” which is just such a fun catchy melody and lyrics that depict the dream we have all had at some point of just taking a chance and getting away from where we are such as “I’ve got a full tank of gas and some money. Let’s leave this small town and small dreams behind.” This is the sort of song that gets stuck in your head for all the right reasons which you will instantly fall in love with and is available HERE or at or the usual sources.
This brief dipping of toes into the water over here was not all work work work as they had time to experience the city on a first venture across the pond for all three of them where amongst other things Eli was adamant about being “historically accurate” recreating the famous photo of The Beatles during their trip to Abbey Road. I live in London so am fairly used to our climate which Meg described as actually quite refreshing but to go barefoot at the end of October, dude I take my hat off to you! “I just really wanted to feel the actual road on my feet. It was a very nerdy moment for me but it felt good.” The guys also got to head to Tower Hill to see the Tower of London (which the full tour inside is on the to do list for future trips) and Tower Bridge along with the markets at Borough and Camden. As a recommendation Mason told me of “maybe the best burger I have ever had that wasn’t just a cheeseburger” that was a vegan burger available at Camden Market.
The guys have previously played shows with the likes of Brothers Osborne, Kip Moore and Sara Evans where they will be opening for Sara one again this year on her At Christmas Tour in the States with dates listed below. In perfect timing for this tour Meg mentioned that they are releasing another new track next month which will be a Christmas song.
11/29 – The Center for Performing Arts – The Palladium – Carmel, IN
11/30 – Jergels Rhythm Grille – Warrendale, PA
12/1 – Penn’s Peak – Jim Thorpe, PA
12/7 – Peoples Bank Theatre – Marietta, OH
12/8 – The Birchmere Music Hall – Alexandria, VA
12/13 – Carl Perkins Civic Center – Jackson, TN
12/14 – Saenger Theatre – Pensacola, FL
12/15 – Miller Theater – Augusta, GA
For fans in the UK, they really hope to be back as much as we will be awaiting their return. Talking between the two shows during Country Music Week, they all talked about the crowd being amazing and how great the reaction to them had been with how they could feel the energy in the crowd. Eli talked about how they “shared something with everybody and when we were up on stage we are thinking about delivering this song in a way that people really feel” to which Meg added how the UK crowd “really share the love of music.” There is plenty these guys want to do and see this side of the pond so fingers crossed they get to come back soon where the fans over here will definitely be prepared next time.
We are really looking forward to hear more from these talented musicians and they are really great people that are so interesting to chat to (they have given me plenty of recommendations of things to check out for my trip to California after Nashville next year, Mason I am completely intrigued by Solvang being a Danish village if we can get over there plus Eli the tar pits at La Brea are definitely being factored in to my trip.) You can find out more about this fantastic trio and keep up to date with forthcoming releases and future tour plans on their socials below: