If you came to the South Carolina State Fair this year, it’s likely that you saw the dynamic duo Ashley and Jon McLemore from Thistle and Lace performing a variety of music and making fun commentary on the Netterfield Stage. Ashley and Jon have been married for 11 years and have been performing professionally together for almost 7 years.
“One night we just decided to quit our jobs and we started Thistle and Lace,” Ashley said.
After quitting their jobs, the married couple sold everything that they had, and traded in Jon’s truck for a motorhome to be able to travel around the country performing. They explained that in the first 7 months of their musical career, they would perform anywhere that would give them enough money to put gas in the tank to be able to get to their next destination.
But it’s not just Ashley and Jon on the road, they also bring their kids. Their kids travel with them from fair to fair, and they are homeschooled. Jon even teaches their children music theory lessons as a part of their curriculum to help exercise and practice his family’s love of music.
Ashley explained that by being homeschooled, their kids get to travel and meet people from all over the country and see all different walks of life which has made them expert conversationalists.
Ashley and Jon have also experienced meeting individuals from all over the country. Ashley says that she hears stories from South Carolina State Fair goers as well as audience members from all over the country about how great it feels to hear songs performed that remind them of their past such as songs from their first date, songs from someone’s college years, and other recognizable memories. She says that bringing back those warm fuzzy memories and bringing happiness is what performing is all about.
“For a 30-minute window of time, if we can just let people escape, then we’ve done our job,” Ashley said.
This fair season was Thistle and Lace’s second year allowing people to escape through music at the South Carolina State Fair, and they have continued to make traditions and memories with not only fair goers, but also the staff.
The couple explained that one thing that sets the South Carolina State Fair apart from other fairs is the kindness of the audience members, including the staff. As they perform their set, it’s likely to see the groundskeepers and custodial workers requesting songs for Thistle and Lace to perform, and dancing around while they keep the surrounding tables clean for fair goers.
“We’ve become buds with them, and they do such a great job, and it makes for a great environment,” Jon said.
Thistle and Lace say that they are in the business of having fun, and as long as they are able to make fun memories and traditions while performing on stage, then that’s all that matters.
If you missed Thistle and Lace’s performances at the 2022 South Carolina State Fair, you can keep up with them on Instagram @thistleandlacemusic and their music is available on all streaming platforms.