Fair to Midland are a progressive rock
band based in Dallas, Texas. They can also be described as progressive metal
, alternative metal
, folk metal
, or art rock
. Their sound features guitar parts that frequently switch between heavy, technical portions and softer sections, singer Darroh Sudderth's catchy vocals, and incomprehensible
(yet very poetic) lyrics.
Formed in 1998, they self-released two albums before signing to Serjical Strike, a record label founded by Serj Tankian
to encourage unique and diverse music. In 2007 they released Fables from a Mayfly: What I Tell You Three Times is True
. After switching to E1 music, they released Arrows and Anchors
- Darroh Sudderth — vocals, banjo, mandolin, bass
- Cliff Campbell — guitar
- Matt Langley — keys (2002–present)
- Ryan Collier — bass (2011–present)
- Logan Kennedy — drums (2011–present)
- Nathin Seals — bass (1998–2005)
- Jason Pintler — drums (1998–2003)
- Jon Dicken — bass (2005–2011)
- Brett Stowers — drums (2001–2011)
- 2001: The Carbon Copy Silver Lining
- 2004: inter.funda.stifle
- 2006: The Drawn and Quartered EP (their first release on Serjical Strike and a kind of preview for Fables from a Mayfly)
- 2007: Fables from a Mayfly: What I Tell You Three Times Is True (contains several re-recordings of songs from inter.funda.stifle)
- 2011: Arrows and Anchors
- Darker and Edgier: Arrows and Anchors, by the band's own admission. Immediately obvious on "Whiskey and Ritalin," the first vocal track.
- Epic Rocking: "The Greener Grass," at 11 minutes long
- Folk Metal: Folk influences can sometimes be heard, for example in the violin on "Tall Tales Taste Like Sour Grapes."
- Harsh Vocals: Occasionally, most prominently in "Dance Of The Manatee" and "Rikki Tikki Tavi."
- The Carbon Copy Silver Lining is noticeably heavier and harsher than the other albums.
- Keep Circulating the Tapes: CCSL and inter.funda.stifle are no longer available through conventional means; there are also various old demos and live recordings that have been compiled by fans that would otherwise have been lost.
- Long Title: Fables from a Mayfly: What I Tell You Three Times Is True
- Mohs Scale of Rock and Metal Hardness: Mostly 4 or 5 (April Fools and Eggmen), gets up to a 7 (Whiskey & Ritalin)
- Miniscule Rocking / Instrumentals: Many of the vocal songs are separated by short instrumentals. On Fables from a Mayfly, the instrumentals are combined with the preceding song onto one track (or omitted, on some releases)
- Neoclassical Punk Zydeco Rockabilly: Combines alternative metal, folk metal, and even some country music; it's easiest just to call them progressive rock and leave it at that.
- Non-Appearing Title: Most of them. In most cases none of words in the title are included in the lyrics anywhere; in "The Wife, the Kids, and the White Picket Fence," the phrase "white picket fence" is in the lyrics, but that's it.
- Old Shame: Most of the band consider The Carbon Copy Silver Lining to be as such.
- Subdued Section: Often contrasting with a heavier part of the song; examples include "Dance of the Manatee," "Kyla Cries Cologne," "Vice/Versa," "Walls of Jericho," and "A Wolf Descends Upon The Spanish Sahara."
- Word Salad Lyrics: All over the place. They haven't really offered any explanations as to what any of their lyrics mean (although an argument can be made that "Dance of the Manatee" is about prostitution).
- "Vice/Versa" has been theorized to be about small town gossip.
- It's commonly theorized that "Rikki Tikki Tavi" is a Be Yourself message.