After a year of relentless touring, Arizona jam rock band Spafford is looking forward to returning home for a series of shows at the Crescent Ballroom in Phoenix.
Among those is a New Year’s Eve gig, which means something special to bassist Jordan Fairless of Chandler, and the rest of his bandmates.
“It’s our birthday,” says Fairless, whose band just returned from a Dominican Republic music festival. “Eight years ago, we played our first show on New Year’s Eve. So it’s our birthday party as a band as much as it is a celebration of the new year. Now that we have taken a step back—we’re less involved with plugging in the cables and carrying sound equipment—we put a lot more energy into the antics of things.”
Spafford melds rock, funk, jazz, ska, reggae and improvisational music. With two studio albums (including 2017’s “Abaculus”) and four live collections under its belt, the band has played several music festivals, including Euphoria, Mad Tea Party Jam, Electric Forest and Head for the Hills, sharing the stage with Rusted Root, Gov’t Mule, The String Cheese Incident and My Morning Jacket.
Fairless says Spafford’s recipe for success is simple.
“We like to say we’re four very normal people who really like playing music,” he says. “It comes out on stage and it comes out when we talk to the fans. If we weren’t playing music, we’d be seeing music. We make mistakes. We’re very honest and reflective.”
Born in Alabama into a musical household, Fairless grew up throughout the southeastern United States.
“Both of my parents are music degree recipients,” says Fairless, first learned guitar but plays bass for Spafford. “From the time I was a child, my dad would have me on his back, singing. It resonated with me. I have been writing songs since the eighth grade. It’s an outlet for me to process the different phases in my life—a positive new relationship, letting go of something I’ve known for a long time, the pain of loss, the joy of success. That’s how I get everything out. I can’t tell you how many notebooks I have of chords and lyrics.”
Sometimes it’s not easy for him to share those thoughts, Fairless admits.
“I worry if they’re (fans) going to like the songs, or if they think I suck,” he says with a laugh. “I just keep going. It’s always worth it. People appreciate an honest expression.”
His move to Arizona was like many transplants—he visited the Grand Canyon State and fell in love.
“There’s something special about Arizona,” he said. “Every time I come home and feel the sun, it’s magic for sure.”
Spafford, Crescent Ballroom, 308 N. Second Avenue, Phoenix, 602.716.2222, crescentphx.com, 8 p.m. Friday, December 29, to Sunday, December 31, $20-$199 depending on package and night.