Review by Shannon Shumaker
Fairground is Todd Lewis Kramer at his best, serving as the singer/songwriter's perfect introduction to the world. From beginning to end, this debut album feels natural and comfortable, but never too safe or boring. It’s personal yet relatable and filled with warm acoustics that are perfect for spring and summer months.
“Barely Sleeping” is a great introduction, with simplistic and inviting acoustic guitar work and commanding vocals that tell a story. While there isn’t necessarily anything particularly risky about the first song, it flows with ease, painting a beautiful picture and setting the mood for the entirety of Fairground. Picking up on that tone and carrying things forward is the warm, bright and loving, “I Want Your Love.” Instrumentally, the piano and guitar mesh wonderfully, and the chorus is absolutely stunning. This love song, filled with lines such as, “I’ve been going crazy/And you bring me clarity,” will warm your heart.
The first two songs may be more on the mellow side, but “Tennessee” finally provides a catchy, upbeat side of Kramer. It’s the perfect change of pace without completely altering the mood or theme of the album, and vocally, the song really shines, especially in the beautiful harmonies.
Following “Tennessee,” the middle of the album hits a rather slow patch, with mellow tracks “Anna” and “Give And Take.” While these two songs aren’t necessarily weak by any means - the theme of self-reflection on “Give And Take” is especially strong - the slower pace does create a slight lull in the middle of the album. But then “Who’s To Say” comes in and begins to pick things up again with groovy and catchy guitar work before “Give My Love Away” provides some more high energy. And then, just when you think you know just what to expect from Fairground, “New York Girl” comes in with some of the most interesting guitar work on the album.
Emotions run high as Fairground comes to a close with “Counting Down The Days” and introspective track, “Workin On Me.” Quite possibly one of the more powerful songs on the album, “Counting Down The Days,” hosts some incredibly touching lyrics - “It’s been so long since I felt just like myself/I guess I’m happier when I sing to no one else but you/Cause when I sing to you/You know these words come out so well.” The strong emotion leads perfectly into the simplistic final track, “Workin On Me,” which ends things on a bittersweet note - “I don’t wanna waste my time on you/Cause I’m working on me.”
Fairground may not be groundbreaking or game-changing, but above everything else, it’s honest. It is impossible not to hear and feel the emotion and soul that Todd Lewis Kramer pours into every single lyric and every single note, creating an album that is sure to touch you. And if it doesn’t upon first listen, I urge you to play it again.
Listen to "I Want Your Love" or "Counting Down The Days"
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