Sideshow Americans

Years of Participation

Harmony (har· mo· ny \ ˈhär-mə-nē), noun    1: a pleasing combination or arrangement of different things    You can’t deny chemistry, everybody knows that. Some elements blend seamlessly, others refuse to cohere, and the results are hard to predict – combinations that look good on paper all too often add up to far less than the sum of their parts, while others that seem hopelessly disparate merge so faultlessly that it can be hard to tell where one piece stops and another starts. When it works, the individual components retain their identity, even as they are subsumed into something altogether new and entirely other, impossible to create alone but equally impossible to achieve without each distinct ingredient. To the outside observer, it can look a lot like magic.    2: the combination of different musical notes played or sung at the same time to produce a pleasing sound    Sideshow Americans began in 2015 with the idea that, sometimes, more is more. Putting four singing, songwriting multi-instrumentalists in the same band is a risky proposition in the best of circumstances, but stabilized by a shared sense of both the sublime and the ridiculous, and longstanding bonds of friendship, Ryan Bonner (vocals/guitar), Cory Jarrett (keyboards/vocals), and Whitt Algar (vocals/bass) joined forces with guitarist/vocalist Dan Wright to create music with an emphasis on songwriting and harmony singing. They released the Streetlights EP later that year and played shows in and around their home base of Charleston, South Carolina to an ever-growing audience of roots rock aficionados. After Dan’s amicable departure in 2017, the core trio welcomed long time friend and fellow traveler Malin Wagnon (vocals/guitar) into the fold, and with the addition of drummer Drew Lewis in 2020, continue to hone and expand their sonic palette while staying true to the raucous, freewheeling spirit of the late night/early morning picking parties where it was born.    3: congruence; compatibility    Harmony singing isn’t easy. Aside from its technical demands, it requires a lot of faith, a lot of mutual trust, and a willingness to open yourself up in ways that can leave you feeling raw, vulnerable, exposed. It’s no wonder so many of its greatest practitioners share a connection that goes beyond the merely musical – you can see it in the way Don leans into Phil, the way George looks at Tammy, the way the Beach Boys bring their heads in close around a single microphone; it’s there in the way Dave smiles at Gillian, the closed eyes of the Eagles, how the Staples respond to the slightest movement of Sister Mavis’ hand. It can be a transformative, even transcendent experience. This is the tie that binds the members of Sideshow Americans, the world that they create when they raise their unique voices in united song. The results speak for themselves. You can’t deny chemistry. To the outside observer, it looks a lot like magic; the secret to the success of Sideshow Americans is that they know that’s exactly what it is.