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Artist Spotlight: The Fairfield Four

-Kerry Souder, Roots N Blues Intern

The Fairfield Four have been gracing the world with their traditional spiritual and gospel music for almost a century. The pastor of the Fairfield Baptist Church in Nashville, Tennessee started the group with his two sons, simultaneously creating a legacy. The group then took on a new member, John Battle, transforming the trio into a quartet and giving the group its name.

Throughout the years, the Fairfield Four has rotated through many members, sometimes even expanding to include five or six singers at a time. Through it all, however, the name remained the Fairfield Four. In the 1940s, the group began struggling with their busy schedule and decreasing financial stability, which caused them to break up. However, one member, Reverend Sam McCrary, continued performing under the band’s name with other groups. Finally, the members from the 1940’s were reunited in 1980, when they performed a concert in Birmingham, Alabama.

Their music draws inspiration from groups such as the Bessemer Sunset Four, the Birmingham Jubilee Singers, and the Famous Blue Jay Singers. They have a classic sound that is bound to put you in a great mood. If you want some more lively tunes, try listening to “At the Gates of the City,” or “Life Down Here on Earth.” For more soulful chords, check out “I’ll Be So Happy” or “The Bells Are Tolling.” All their music is fun and unique though, so you should really listen to it all!

The Fairfield Four has truly had a successful career. They not only won three Grammy Awards, but also got inducted into the Gospel Music Hall of Fame. They were also featured on the soundtrack for the 2000 film, O Brother, Where Art Thou? And, after being featured on John Fogerty’s album, Blue Moon Swamp, they were able to open for him on tour.

The band continues to play today, though the original members have either retired or since passed away. The current members are Joseph Thompson, Levert Allison, Larrice Byrd and Bobbye Sherrell. Thompson is the cousin of two of the original quartet members and used to fill in whenever the group needed a singer.

Though the members have changed, the quality of the band has not. They continue to produce gospel style music and build on their style, which will sure to make an incredible show at this year’s Roots N Blues Festival. See you there!