Fair to Midland was formed in 1998 by friends Andrew Darroh Sudderth and Cliff Campbell, both of Sulphur Springs, Texas. After their independent debut album in late 2001, The Carbon Copy Silver Lining, original drummer Jason Pintler left the band and former percussionist Brett Stowers took over drums. For their second album, 2004's inter.funda.stifle, keyboardist Matt Langley, who was a guest musician on "The Carbon Copy Silver Lining", joined the band. Though independently released, both albums were critically acclaimed, and the band toured extensively to promote the albums, becoming extremely popular in Dallas, Texas' Deep Ellum scene. In 2005, bassist Nathin Seals left the group and was replaced by another Sulphur Springs native, Jon Dicken. In 2009, inter.funda.stifle, was re-released through their online merchandise store.
inter.funda.stifle and Fair to Midland's lively concerts attracted the attention of System of a Down's Serj Tankian, who in 2006 signed Fair to Midland to his label Serjical Strike. The Drawn and Quartered EP was soon released on the label, featuring demo tracks from inter.funda.stifle, live recordings, and a mini-documentary titled "The Drawn and Quartered Kinescope", which included concert footage and interviews with the band. Fables From a Mayfly: What I Tell You Three Times Is True, Fair to Midland's major label debut, was released in June 2007. For it, the band chose to re-record many of the songs from inter.funda.stifle which they felt could benefit from the bigger production values art-rock mega producer David Bottrill brought to the table. Like their previous releases, Fables From a Mayfly garnered much critical attention and acclaim, and also helped widen their fanbase.
Live at Coachella 2007 the band performed a live improvisational version of their song "The Walls of Jericho" featuring the guest vocals of Serj Tankian. Through the first half of 2008, Fair to Midland toured the USA with acts including 10 years, Chevelle, Flyleaf, Dir En Grey, as well as several US and European dates with Serj Tankian. They performed alongside acts such as Rage Against The Machine, Queens of the Stone Age, Smashing Pumpkins, and Muse and at sister festivals Rock am Ring and Rock im Park, two notable concert events, in both 2007 and 2008.
Fair to Midland were the winners of the Dallas Observer Music Award in the Best Metal category for both 2007 and 2008.
On January 9, 2010, the band was in an accident, forcing them to cancel their show at the Clubhouse Music Venue in Tempe, Arizona. Bassist Jon Dicken was airlifted to the hospital as a precaution, but shortly released with no major harm. The members of the band were unharmed, but the crash, which included their van and trailer being flipped, left much of their gear destroyed. Four days later the band released a short video involving post-accident footage, entitled "FWIW" (standing for "For What It's Worth") which includes a short clip of a studio demo of a new song called "A Loophole in Limbo".
In August 2008, Fair to Midland began writing their fourth studio album. In October, drummer Brett Stowers stated on the band’s official forum that the band had so far written about 4-6 songs that were in "various states of completion". He also wrote that the band wanted to take their time and release the record when it’s done. On November 15, the band’s Myspace page was updated with pictures of the band in studio. As written in the blog post: "The sound so far seems to be going in a little bit darker and more cynical direction, probably a result of 2 years of roughing it on the road, but it's not without some cool tongue-in-cheek moments as well".
In more recent departures from the band, lead singer Darroh Sudderth over Facebook claims that "a new album is on the horizon."
Tracks considered for the record included "Musical Chairs", "Pour the Coal to 'er" (both recorded in demo form during the sessions for Fables from a Mayfly), "Rikki Tikki Tavi", "A Loophole in Limbo", "Bright Bulbs and Sharp Tools", "Uh-Oh", "Coppertank Island", "Amarillo Sleeps on My Pillow", "Golden Parachutes" and "The Greener Grass".
On November 8th, 2010 it was announced that the band had signed a worldwide deal with E1 Music and that the album was scheduled to be released in the spring of 2011. The album will be produced by Joe Barresi. The official pre-production started on November 15th. On November 23rd the band announced they were moving on to tracking drums, and the recording was announced to be done on December 19th, and in a recent newsletter the band announced that Joe Barresi will mix the album during the first half of January, while the expected release is due in late Spring or early Summer. The band also stated it would be "the darkest and heaviest record" they have ever made.
On December 10th, the band announced they have decided on the name of the new album, but did not disclose it. On March 4th it was announced to be "Arrows & Anchors". The record will be released on July 12th, 2011, with a handful of special CD release parties being held. The first will be July 12th in Dallas, Texas at the Curtain Club.
On April 18, "Musical Chairs" was released as a single on iTunes, with a music video announced to soon be following. In May, the studio version of "Amarillo Sleeps on My Pillow" was offered for free download on the band's website.
On June 9, a music video for "Musical Chairs" was released, featuring the band performing the single in beaten up house while destroying a grand piano. It is the first video by the band that has the members performing in it, as opposed to the "Dance of the Manatee" which was animated.