Album Review: Midway Fair “The Distance of the Moon at Daybreak”

Band: Midway Fair
Album: The Distance of the Moon at Daybreak
Rating: 4 out of 5
By Aaron Binder

Take a moment and think of the 1960’s.  In your minds eye the thought of current histories most powerful decade conjures up images of JFK, Woodstock, Women’s Rights, Black Rights, the moon landing and many other nostalgic pleasantries.  When you look at music specifically, you think Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, Neil Young, Bob Dylan, The Beatles, The Rolling Stones and so many more that blazed trails into new styles of music.

Many people will claim that the 60’s were the greatest decade for music ever and it is a difficult argument to refute.  It’s even more difficult when there are bands like Midway Fair around.  Hailing from Baltimore, the band integrates many great folk-rock influences into their music from Tom Waits to Bob Dylan.  They manage to update the sound and at times sound like a more modern, softer version of Dire Straits or (early) Counting Crows.

The trio is composed of vocalist/guitarist Jon Patton, vocalist/pianist Jen Parde and percussionist Tim Taormino.  Brought together by their love of folk music, the trio has put together an album that focuses on bringing folk into the 21st century.  The album manages to pull this off with very few slips along the way.

The instrumental compositions contained on the album are beautifully concocted; simple and easy on the ears at times while journeying into rich complexity at other points throughout the record.  Patton’s guitar work throughout the record is impeccable, flowing through many different playing styles with the ease of a 50 year veteran.  The interaction between instruments is truly inspiring and it becomes obvious the three main musicians have been playing together for a long time and connect well with each other.

Lyrically the vocals of Mr. Patton are well written prose and sung in a slightly gruff tenor that has the ability to shift up and down to fit the mood of the music.  While the vocals are beautiful and the lyrics are interesting, they are too cryptic at times and difficult to truly understand.  When Patton strikes up a song about a specific story (Edward Cain, Two Crows) it turns out wonderfully, the stories are well-crafted and entertaining.  When he slips into mystery mode (Wolves and Children, Blue Eyes) it becomes a chore to decipher some of the lyrics.

For a band that attempts to accomplish so much in one album they have achieved real success and a truly memorable set of songs.  Regardless of the very few slip-ups and poorly thought out passages, Midway Fair has created an album that invites you to delve deeper with every listen and enjoy the beautiful soundtrack to life that they have poured their souls into creating.

Their full album comes out March 18th and will be available for digital download on their Bandcamp.

Recommended songs:
Edward Cain
Put on the Brake
(It’s Not) 1962


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