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FAIR TO MIDLAND

Crossover Prog • United States


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Fair To Midland biography
Formed in 1998 by Andrew Darroh SUDDERTH (vocals, banjo and mandolin) and Cliff CAMPBELL (guitar) Texas based FAIR TO MIDLAND self-released their debut album 'The Carbon Copy Silver Lining' in 2001 with Nathin SEALS on bass, percussionist Brett STOWERS and drummer Jason PINTLER. The follow-up, 'inter.funda.stifle', was recorded with Matt LANGLEY who played guest keyboards on the debut now as a fulltime member and STOWERS now occupying the drum throne following PINTLER's departure from the band in 2003. Released in 2004 'inter.funda.stifle' drew the attention of Serj TANKIAN of SYSTEM OF A DOWN who subsequently signed them to his Serjical Strike Records label, six tracks from the album were re-recorded with 5 new tracks to form their third album 'Fables from a Mayfly: What I Tell You Three Times Is True', recorded in 2007 with Jon DICKEN now on bass and produced by David BOTTRILL (famous for producing such artists as FRIPP & SYLVIAN, KING CRIMSON, TOOL, MUSE and COHEED AND CAMBRIA).

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Fables From a Mayfly: What I Tell You Three Times is TrueFables From a Mayfly: What I Tell You Three Times is True
Republic 2007
Audio CD$3.41
$0.01 (used)
Arrows & AnchorsArrows & Anchors
Entertainment One Music 2011
Audio CD$8.33
$4.80 (used)
The Drawn and Quartered EPThe Drawn and Quartered EP
EP
Universal 2006
Audio CD$1.98
$0.14 (used)
Fair To Midland - Arrows & Anchors [Japan CD] VICP-64993Fair To Midland - Arrows & Anchors [Japan CD] VICP-64993
Victor Japan
Audio CD$30.36
$20.00 (used)
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FAIR TO MIDLAND discography


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FAIR TO MIDLAND top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

2.10 | 12 ratings
The Carbon Copy Silver Lining
2001
4.11 | 19 ratings
inter.funda.stifle
2004
3.93 | 71 ratings
Fables from a Mayfly: What I Tell You Three Times Is True
2007
3.48 | 51 ratings
Arrows & Anchors
2011

FAIR TO MIDLAND Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

FAIR TO MIDLAND Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

FAIR TO MIDLAND Boxset & Compilations (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

FAIR TO MIDLAND Official Singles, EPs, Fan Club & Promo (CD, EP/LP, MC, Digital Media Download)

2.00 | 1 ratings
The Drawn and Quartered EP
2006

FAIR TO MIDLAND Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Arrows & Anchors by FAIR TO MIDLAND album cover Studio Album, 2011
3.48 | 51 ratings

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Arrows & Anchors
Fair To Midland Crossover Prog

Review by toroddfuglesteg

3 stars The fourth album from this US band is an unexpected meeting.

Jumping out of the speakers like some angry wasps, this album takes no prisoners. The sound is a mix of neo metal with some really waspish angry guitars which has been teamed up in a wall of sound and some more gentle pastoral rock. This is the sound of the post millenium, hard rock style. This is a really hard album and metallic.

The guys does a very good job on their instruments and the vocals are good. The sound is good too. Everything here is good, except from the the lack of some really great tracks here. This album does not really takes off. It just walks around on the tarmac and does some pirouettes. Which is good. Those more into neo hard metallic rock anno post millenium will find this more worthwhile than I do. It is still a good album though in my estimation.

3 stars

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 Arrows & Anchors by FAIR TO MIDLAND album cover Studio Album, 2011
3.48 | 51 ratings

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Arrows & Anchors
Fair To Midland Crossover Prog

Review by TheLastBaron

4 stars I'm slightly surprised that no one has written a review for this album yet. I first heard of Fair To Midland when they where signed to Serjical Strike records as I'm a fan of System of a Down and had a habit of tracking what the band members where up to when they went on hiatus. The first album I heard from Fair To Midland was Fables from a mayfly ( I'm to lazy to write the rest of the title). I fell in love with the shift in styles, vocals and cryptic and poetic lyrics. I pateintly awaited the release of Arrows and Anchors ever since Fables. Adn though there are some very noticeable differences, I really enjoy this album. Some may be tuned away upon first listen by the fact that this is a heavier album, not just in sound but in production also. Yet the melodic passages, turns of phrase ( I found myself contempleting the philosophical inclanations of short phrases such as " I could be kicking the bucket, but you should know I never had very good aim" " Is shooting for stars like darts in the dark?" and " if failed attempts where a lottery ticket, you could be I'd be raking it in." just to name a few), and stylistic shifts still remain. Fair To Midland has simply taken what makes them so good and expanded the use of keyboards, growls and subtle electronic touches. Just as Good as Fables but different enough, Fair to Midland could've played it safe, instead they take what fans already love about them and try some new tricks.

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 The Carbon Copy Silver Lining by FAIR TO MIDLAND album cover Studio Album, 2001
2.10 | 12 ratings

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The Carbon Copy Silver Lining
Fair To Midland Crossover Prog

Review by msphelps

1 stars I suppose it was a mistake to listen to this album after hearing "Dance of the Manatee" for the first time. Going back and listening to their earliest release is, in comparison, just embarrassing. The songwriting is relatively mediocre and the pieces in general are tough, if not impossible, to listen to. Not even a focused listen to this album reveals anything rewarding. It's unfortunate that Fair to Midland managed to take a fairly interesting idea (folk/death/prog) and then fail to do anything interesting with it. It's interesting in that it is the beginnings of an otherwise excellent band, but on the whole, anyone looking for anything similar to Fables from a Mayfly and other parts of their later work should run away, very quickly. Carbon Copy isn't an enjoyable listen as much as it is a physical chore.

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 The Drawn and Quartered EP by FAIR TO MIDLAND album cover Singles/EPs/Fan Club/Promo, 2006
2.00 | 1 ratings

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The Drawn and Quartered EP
Fair To Midland Crossover Prog

Review by ClemofNazareth
Special Collaborator Prog Folk Researcher

— First review of this album —
2 stars Fair to Midland are an interesting story; five guys coming out of some jerkwater semi-rural northeast Texas town, discovered by System of a Down frontman Serj Tankian and signed to his Serjical Strike label then breaking into the Billboard Top-200 with their major label debut ‘Fables from a Mayfly: What I Tell You Three Times Is True’ including the striking "Dance of the Manatee" and the very musically mature "Walls of Jericho". The band has two previous studio albums to their credit; 2004’s ‘inter.funda.stifle’ which features early versions of several songs later released on ‘Fables’, and the 2001 independent release ‘The Carbon Copy Silver Lining’ which I haven’t heard and is difficult to find but whose artwork and song titles look an awful lot like something a math rock band might put out (“Pen-_-“, “..(i)..”, “-The Beltway-“, “See, Saw”).

This EP was technically their first major label release, also issued on Serjical Strike in 2006 and featuring five songs (four actually, plus a video that includes pieces of live performances, brief interviews and snippets of fan interactions). Two of the audio tracks are demo versions and two are live; all of them are also found in other forms on the ‘inter.funda.stifle’ CD. From a production standpoint I’ve heard better: the studio versions here are somewhat flat, and the band clearly improved their delivery and sound separation skills between when these demos were recorded and the ‘Fables’ release. Lead singer Darroh Sudderth shows promise here, but nothing approaching his tight and soaring shrieks on the 2007 album.

The live versions are even rougher, with plenty of sound dropouts and a muddled, sometimes almost echoing rhythm section. I’m sure these were much better received by the folks actually at the concert in which they were recorded.

The packaging here is a bit strange too; all the audio tracks are in Windows movie format, which will make ripping the thing to your mp3 player a bit challenging depending on what type of software you have to do that. And the liner notes are just as cryptic and nonsensical as those on ‘Fables’ (in other words, random snippets from the various lyric tracks).

As much as I loved ‘Fables’ I’m starting to wonder a bit about the staying power of these guys. In the past five years they’ve released two studio albums and this EP, but two of the songs on this EP ("Kyla Cries Cologne" and “A Seafarer’s Knot”) also appear on both their full-length CDs (albeit different recordings), and the other two songs here (“Orphan Anthem ‘86” and “Abigail”) are also on ‘inter.funda.stifle’. In the case of "Kyla Cries Cologne" not only the arrangement but also the lyrics are slightly different, but its still the same song.

The band is supposed to have a new studio album out in early 2010, and assuming that one doesn’t include outtakes or leftovers from any of these other records then there may be some hope; otherwise I’d say the band may be relegated to the post-grunge and fair circuit before long.

This is a curio for collectors and fans of the band, but certainly not a very good representation of what they are capable of, and definitely not very highly recommended as an introduction to the group. Check out ‘Fables’ first and leave this one to whet your whistle in the inevitable delay between their 2010 release and whatever follows that. Two stars.

peace

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 Fables from a Mayfly: What I Tell You Three Times Is True by FAIR TO MIDLAND album cover Studio Album, 2007
3.93 | 71 ratings

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Fables from a Mayfly: What I Tell You Three Times Is True
Fair To Midland Crossover Prog

Review by ClemofNazareth
Special Collaborator Prog Folk Researcher

4 stars One of my favorite discoveries in the past few years, and among the best albums of any genre released in 2007 is Fair to Midland and their third studio release ‘Fables from a Mayfly: What I Tell You Three Times is True’. This group’s blend of metal, folk and progressive music was like a sonic explosion of fresh air that summer, and even now two years later this CD still finds its way into my car’s disc player on most of the many treks I make across the Midwestern United States on a regular basis.

I first picked this up at a record store on a whim during a road trip that summer, having never heard of the band but intrigued by the album cover, band and album name, and some of the song titles; all of which suggested a fresh new group whose music was steeped in American folk. That turned out to be sort of true, but the opening blast of “Dance of the Manatee” dispelled any notion this was some sort of rustic, acoustic-strumming, introspective urban folk band. Clifford Campbell opens the first song with a jolt of torrid guitar, then settles down in a fast-paced but controlled tempo just long enough for Darroh Sudderth to warm up his voice before launching into a soaring and explosive vocal rant that fluctuates between heavy folk, metal shrieking and throaty, guttural rap for a fist-pumping rush that returns again and again, offset only by barely-restrained stanzas of freak-out bass, thundering drums and melodic interludes before skidding to an abrupt halt just about the time my blood pressure reaches party stage. An innovative, energetic, and wholly inspiring 4:10 worth of art rock straight out of Nowhereville (aka the lazy burg of Sulphur Springs, a sparsely-populated blip on the map of northeastern Texas).

I have to admit the band doesn’t really stray all that far from this recipe for the rest of the album, but I’m not one to quibble when five guys who are obviously having a blast click so tightly and with such sonic precision. “Kyla Cries Cologne” brings more of the same before the band slows down just a bit to show off their close-up skills on guitar and bare keyboards on “Vice/Versa”, again only for a short while before Campbell and especially Sudderth cut loose again.

The band shows their poetic and rustic side with the galloping American anthem “The Wife, the Kids, and the White Picket Fence”, followed up by a couple more rockers complete with cryptic lyrics in “April Fools and Eggmen” and “A Seafarer's Knot” before showing off their unique heavy folk chops with the tense and melodic “A Wolf Descends Upon the Spanish Sahara”. For another face to their music Sudderth tones down his voice into human range to open “Walls of Jericho”, but he can’t resist showing off his falsetto range on the choruses here either.

"Tall Tales Taste Like Sour Grapes" is the slowest and most restrained tune on the album, but even here Campbell and drummer Brett Stowers can’t restrain themselves completely, and keyboardist Matt Langley plays around with a little nineties new-wave funkiness in between Sudderth’s staccato rants. Like most of the rest of the band’s lyrics I have no idea what Sudderth is singing about, but as the road whizzes by and my ears are filled with the energetic tones I don’t really care either.

Like several other tracks on the album, “Upgrade^Brigade” is a remake off their second album ‘inter.funda.stifle’, but under the tutelage of producers David Bottrill and Serj Tankian this version sounds richer, more densely packed with sound and much tighter than the earlier one.

Finally the band winds down with the spacey, almost ambient “Say When”, belied only by the torpedo voice of Sudderth and Campbell’s whiny guitar chords. A great ending to a thoroughly enjoyable album.

I never cease to wonder at the creativity demonstrated in melding of musical styles more than a half-century after disc jockeys like Alan Freed introduced eager American audiences to that unique blend of Southern blues and rural country known as rock and roll. Fair to Midland are just the latest marvel in that evolution. This is a very highly recommended album from an up-and-coming band, one that should appeal to metal, art rock, progressive folk and just plain rock ‘n roll fans. Four stars.

peace

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