Album Reviews

Fairground Saints

Fairground Saints

Artist:     Fairground Saints

Album:     Fairground Saints

Label:     Verve

Release Date:     08/21/2015


Don’t judge the CD by the almost indistinguishable cover photo on the Fairground Saints’ self-titled debut. The album’s fuzzy image of three silhouettes against a dusty sunset clearly contradicts the Los Angeles trio’s music, which was composed with lyrical clarity, bright vocals and textured musicianship. The Fairground Saints’ original sound, ranging from acoustic folk to pop and rock genres, defines longing, disillusion and joy in 12 tunes embellished with impressive three-part harmonies. Michigan native and standout lead vocalist Megan McAllister demonstrates her unique phrasing in jazz rhythms reminiscent of Sara Bareilles on the songs, “Until Then” and “Somethin’ for Nothin’.”

All three musicians, including Mason Van Valin, Elijah Edwards and McAllister, contributed to the songwriting and also share vocals and guitar tracks. Multi-instrumentalist Edwards plays mandolin, keyboards, Dobro and accordion. “I Wish I Was,” a song co-written by Van Valin and Edwards with Hannah Mulholland, Matthew Wilder and Tamara Dunn reveals the group’s astonishing insecurity despite its signature good looks and raw talent. Their most memorable R&B-flavored “All of You,” attempts the chord progression to Aaron Neville’s 1966 ballad “Tell It Like It Is” in reverse—a lofty feat that surpasses any fairground’s attraction.

– Donna Marie Miller

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