Roy's Mermaid Baby rises to the top

Apr 21 2011 - 7:45pm

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MATTHEW ARDEN HATFIELD/Standard-Examiner
Logan Arnold, Jordan Ballou and Tyler Thomas of the Roy High School band Mermaid Baby celebrate after winning the top prize during Battle of the Bands last Friday at Union Station in Ogden.
MATTHEW ARDEN HATFIELD/Standard-Examiner
Jordan Ballou plays his guitar during the competition.
MATTHEW ARDEN HATFIELD/Standard-Examiner
Logan Arnold, Jordan Ballou and Tyler Thomas of the Roy High School band Mermaid Baby celebrate after winning the top prize during Battle of the Bands last Friday at Union Station in Ogden.
MATTHEW ARDEN HATFIELD/Standard-Examiner
Jordan Ballou plays his guitar during the competition.

They came, they played, they conquered the stage.

And at the end of a hard-fought Standard-Examiner Battle of the Bands, a new champ was crowned for 2011 -- Roy High School's Mermaid Baby.

The trio includes Jordan Ballou, 17, on guitar, and bassist Logan Arnold, 20, both from Roy, and drummer Tyler Thomas, 20, of Ogden.

Ballou is a senior at Roy High. Arnold is a graduate of Roy. They met through Ballou's older brother.

"Logan played bass, and I wrote songs and played guitar, so it was kind of natural that we got together," said Ballou, who taught himself to play guitar at age 12. "Then we met Tyler maybe a year and a half ago, when he was in a pretty established band. I got so lucky with these two guys."

Mermaid Baby had played its first show with Thomas' then-band, Ask for the Future. The three -- Ballou, Arnold and Thomas -- became fast friends that night. About a year ago, Mermaid Baby's drummer left, and Ask for the Future disbanded.

"When we lost our drummer, we were really sad about that," said Ballou. "And Tyler was really in the dumps because he'd lost his band. But then we joined forces, and it seemed like, when Tyler came along, everything improved so much. We got together and created something much better for all of us."

Mermaid in the surf

Mermaid Baby features the surf-influenced guitar of Ballou, as well as tight vocal harmonies by the rest of the band.

"I am not really sure where our surf sound came from exactly," said Ballou. "I guess it just came from old music I listened to. I soaked it in. I listened to a lot of the Beach Boys, and Beach Boy knockoffs, as well as the Beatles. But I also listen to a lot of modern indie stuff."

Whatever the catalyst was for Ballou's taking up the surfy six-string, he is now a die-hard devotee.

"That surf sound adapts well to all styles, is a really cool twist you can put on any kind of music. And to make it sound easy, it takes a lot of work, which has been fun for us."

In recent years, Ballou said he and the band have also come to appreciate the well-crafted songs featured in musicals, especially Disney films.

" 'Prince Ali' from 'Aladdin' had a huge influence on me, and also 'Under the Sea,' from 'The Little Mermaid.' And when I heard the Beatles play 'Till There Was You,' I went back and looked into 'The Music Man.' 'Till There Was You' is just really beautiful."

Ready to launch

Ballou, who graduates from high school this spring, said he and the other Mermaid Babies have plans to take things up a notch.

He said they will take their winnings -- a $500 gift certificate to the battle's co-sponsor, Music Village, and individual $100 Newgate Mall vouchers as well -- and put them back into gear for the group.

"And we are definitely working toward an album this summer. We hope to have one out by August. After we have that CD, we are hoping we can branch out a little as to where we play, because we'll have something to send ahead of us. We are looking to maybe do some small tours -- nothing huge, but maybe poke around Idaho and California, if we can."

To hear original song selections by Mermaid Baby, go to www.facebook.com/mermaidbaby.

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