Fairground Saints Bring Their “Magic” Back To L.A. California Country From Nashville, Tennessee
LOS ANGELES, CA- “Don’t it always seem to go, that you don’t know what you’ve got till it’s gone.” That’s a common refrain that I sing to myself whenever I find out that a band that I like is no longer Los Angeles based. That happened a little earlier this year when I caught Fairground Saints perform at Hotel Cafe.
Fairground Saints are Megan McAllister (vocals, guitar, dulcimer), Mason Van Valin (vocals, guitar) and Elijah Edwards (vocals, guitar, mandolin), and I absolutely love their sound. Their penchant for writing charmingly warm country/pop compositions coupled with their seamlessly tight vocal harmonies make for an absolutely enjoyable listen.
The band was formed in Santa Barbara, CA before relocating to Los Angeles. After going “through the ringer” in LA, they all decided to leave the City of Angels for Music City, where happenstance had them signed a record deal with Sony Music Nashville.
Their debut effort for their new label is their 2019 EP Magic. While it may have been mostly written, recorded and produced in Nashville, there’s a lot of California magic in those 5 tracks. It’s Californian Americana, a sonic imbued with equal parts folk, rock, and country and western pepper with flawless vocals. It’s like they bottled up a little bit of that mythical Laurel Canyon pixie dust and took it with them to Nashville, and recorded it.
Live, Fairground Saints are impeccable. The musicality amongst the trio is effortless, and the music they produced with just their guitars and voices was warm and lush, filling every corner of the room. In Hollywood’s bar scene, you’ll often hear idle chatter from the back, but that wasn’t the case with Fairground Saints. Everyone in the room was intently focused in on taking in as much of the music coming from the stage that they could.
When the band interacted with the crowd between songs, they talked about how they came together, and how they ended up where they are today. They told stories about how songs came to be, and did so in a light, humorous manner that gave the music a little more humanity and tenderness that we could all related to.
Mason talked about how his niece inspired him to write a new song, “The Ride”, and how his nieces epiphany that the world is round and we all go “upside down”, led him to realize that while we aren’t in control of the things that happen in life, and that it was important to appreciate “just being along for the ride sometimes” and that it’s ok to just put your hands up in the air and say, “I don’t know, but we’re all on this road. Let’s just ride it for a second.”
That ride took them to Nashville, and brought them back to Los Angeles, even if it was just for this one performance. Hopefully, they’ll hitch another ride back west for more gigs sooner rather than later.
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