Midway Fair plays “Pretty music about ugly things,” and their folk rock sound and songwriting are a seamless synthesis of British and American folk rock styles. Sweeping, cinematic story-songs influenced by Tom Waits, Gillian Welch, Josh Ritter, and The Waterboys are propelled by dazzling fingerstyle guitar work in the vein of Mark Knopfler (Dire Straits) and Richard Thompson, tight multi-part harmonies, and dramatic rhythms. Although many of their songs are crafted to be lighthearted and fun, they tackle serious subjects like war, poverty, and (of course) love with poetic grace and intelligence.
“Reminds me a lot of Fairport Convention […] The playing and craft are exquisite.” ~Jon Worley, Aid & Abet April 2011.
Like a group of minstrels found electric guitars and wrote an album over the course of 500 years. […] Bottom line: For those that like The Incredible String Band and The Band, Midway Fair is the underdog with an album of powerful, sincere, and timeless songs.
~John Powell, www.Angelica-Music.com, July 18, 2011
Midway Fair is:
Jon Patton: Vocals, guitar, and mandolin (and miscellaneous instruments on recordings)
Joe Scala: Guitar and vocals
Rick Veader: Bass and vocals
Chris Hamilton: Drums and vocals
Live band alumni:
Jen Parde: Vocals and piano
Tim Taormino: Drums and percussion
Chris Rowe: Bass and vocals
Andrew Luttrell: Guitar, mandolin, and vocals.
Recording band alumni:
Mike Ward: Keyboards
Patrick Hughes: Drums
Mark Wall: Accordion, penny whistle, and vocals
Chris Freeland: engineering, claps, vocals, sequencing, percussion, drums, bass
Timothy Bracken: Guitar
Casey Smith: Guitar and lute
Kristin Jones: Cello
Acacia Sears: Vocals
Heather Aubrey Lloyd: Vocals
Cellina Taormino: Vocals
About the members of the band
Jon S. Patton was born in Baltimore in 1981 and has been a farmhand, construction worker, Russian linguist, teacher, clerk, editor, paralegal, and writer; he played as a street musician in Heidelberg, Germany; and was a guest with a German jazz orchestra at age 17. He recorded a solo album, Hard Times, in 2003 in San Antonio and first formed Midway Fair in 2005 with keyboardist Michael Ward.
Most of these things are much less impressive than they sound. Except the last one. That one’s pretty cool.
Jon is passionate about cooking, magical realism fiction, environmental issues, and theoretical astrophysics. He was a frequent contributor to Driftwood Magazine, a folk, world, and roots music blog, and an occasional contributor to The Owl Mag. He also built some of the guitar pedals, amps, and guitars used live and on the recordings.
Joseph Scala cuts-and-pastes from indie, rock, alt-country, pop and folk to create his not-quite-perfectly-charming style. He plays regularly in Baltimore with his band The Marksmen, and in 2015 released Skin + Bones, a full-length self-produced album. He also performs in Katie Bowers Band and Midway Fair, and has produced EPs for other Charm City acts like Baltimericana and Mosno Al-Moseeki. As an active member of the Baltimore songwriting community, Joe’s songs tend to find their way into the catalogs of other Baltimore musicians.
Rick Veader is a lifelong musician. His eclectic musical tastes range from showtunes and Sousa marches through the various eras of rock, punk, country, celtic, barbershop, and, most recently, American roots music styles. He has played Tuba in a number of marching and concert bands, Irish whistle in Not Quite Tipsy, harmonica for Rosie and the Rivets, and bass guitar in …And Now For.
Chris Hamilton is a familiar face in the Baltimore music scene. He’s played in dozens of bands but is best known as the frontman for Radiation Puppy.