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Fairground Saints: Surfin’ to Nashvegas

The California lifestyle can leave most people envious and wanting their own part in it. But one local musician sought to trade in his beaches for a country outback. Mason Van Valin spent most of his youth performing around Santa Barbara just as a hobby. Influenced by his love of folk music and nomadic nature, he decided to take it to the next level. With one Facebook ad, this former bus boy turned his solo act into a powerhouse trio of harmonious excellence. After trekking over 2,000 miles, the three-piece band brought the surf and sun vibes to the city of Nashville. Though, they won’t find much surf in the Cumberland River, they still bring waves of Americana style to Music City.

As a native of California’s Santa Ynez Valley, Van Valin had always wanted form his own band. When he wasn’t performing as a soloist, he was busing tables at the Four Seasons to make a little extra money. But after crafting his songwriting capabilities, Van Valin thought it was time to pursue a full-time career in music. Posting various ads across social networks, Valin ran into local multi-instrumentalist Elijah Edwards who shared his love for folk and pop music. Both musicians agreed they still needed at least one more member to complete the group. The magic of YouTube brought them to Michigan singer/songwriter Megan McAllister who, coincidentally, just moved to Los Angeles. The three artists instantly clicked in the writing room and created enough songs for a full-length studio album. Buzz had stirred around the Malibu area of their various performances which led them to meeting famed record producer David Foster. He immediately signed the trio to Verve Music Group after attending one of their concerts at a club. But Foster wouldn’t realize how far they would exceed his expectations.

Fairground Saints would make their official debut in the summer of 2015 with their self-titled album. They would premiere their single “Turn This Car Around” on NPR which caught thousands of listeners off guard by the trio’s effortless harmonies. Among these listeners would be the writers of Paste Magazine and Huffington Post who acclaimed them as the next big thing. Comparisons on their songwriting style and melodic harmonies would bring up household names such as: Eagles, Fleetwood Mac and The Dixie Chicks. The single, along with “Can’t Control The Weather”, has already amassed millions of streams across Spotify. The core acoustic sound of guitar picking and mandolin strumming fit perfectly into their sonic melodies. It makes it almost difficult to categorize their sound which was the trio’s original goal. Edwards has stated, “We like so many different styles of music and we’re almost manically fearful of being into a box of one style—we’re just naturally that way.”

While their three-part harmonies have captivated many media outlets, they’ve also added contemporary artists to their ever-growing fanbase. The Brothers Osborne, Sara Evans and Kip Moore are just the few to name who’ve fallen in love with the trio’s music. Each artist has personally reached out to the trio to be a part of their tours across the areas of California. Realizing the group can branch out further, they packed up their instruments and headed to the east for Nashville, Tennessee. The musicians craft of country, pop and rock ‘n’ roll were met with a warm welcome within the Americana community. Landing a publishing deal with Sony/ATV didn’t seem to hurt either. With a new area of opportunity, the trio could breakout their creativeness in the works of a new album.

The band’s latest album, Magic, combines all the influences that have made them into renowned songwriters. Specifically, they pay tribute to the state that brought them all together with the radio hit “California”. The breezy pop setting and roots accompaniment complement each other so well that it makes it feel like a never-ending honeymoon. The track is perfect for all summertime moments. Whether cruisin’ through the beach or driving in the city with the top down. While this just one example of Fairground Saints’ synergy, they offer more through the album’s other four tracks. The Nashville backdrop is recognized through the album’s music of real-life stories that make listeners so easy to connect with. Their time on Music Row can be thanked for this added ingredient. This leaves just more desire and higher expectations for 2021 as millions anticipate catching a new wave from the group. Surf’s up.

Written by Trenton Luber


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