Friday, September 6, 2013

NEAF '13 Feature Artist: Ian Fitzgerald

I think it's safe to say that pretty much every time I listen to one of Ian's songs I find myself saying "damn, why did I not write this song before he did?. Whenever anyone asks me what I am listening to or what local artist they need to hear about Ian's name is on the short list I always regurgitate without even thinking. One of my favorite songwriters of all, nevermind just locally, Ian has a calm delivery, a dry humored wit, and writes a song like no one else I have meet in recent memory. Check out the review I did of his last record here: NTTBT Review (I am sensing a pattern in reviews and artists in the fest)...anyway, to put it simply, Ian is a a master of the songwriting craft and you should ABSOLUTELY check out his set.

1)      First and foremost, who are you, what do you do? That is, what band are you in or are you a solo artist, what have you guys been up to leading up to the festival, anything exciting we should all know about? Your chance for shameless self promotion…go!

IF:  I'm Ian Fitzgerald. I'm a folk singer-songwriter; I performed exclusively as a solo act for several years, but now I am joined at most shows by harmony vocalist Courtney Gallagher.  She also joined me, along with bassist Brian Battles and multi-instrumentalist/producer Eric Lichter, on a record I released earlier this year called No Time To Be Tender.

2)      New England Americana and the Fest firmly plant their roots and morals in “community”. The event is a culmination of a community of musicians and artists that is going on all year. What does that community mean to you?

IF:  Particularly in the past couple of years, it has been great to get to know a lot more musicians in the area, play shows with them, and hear the really great recordings they're producing.  From folks like Joe Fletcher, Will Houlihan (Haunt The House), and Tracie Potochnik in Rhode Island to people like Courtney, Dan Blakeslee and Brian Carroll around here: there are a lot of extremely talented, enthusiastic, and supportive people making music in this area.

3)      Name a record that shaped you as a musician early on. What music initially made you want to sing, or pick up an instrument and make music?

IF: I was a Beatles-obsessed young man, but it wasn't until I started listening to Bob Dylan that I felt compelled the pick up the guitar and the Mel Bay chord book my Dad had given me so I could learn to play "Desolation Row."

4)      What are you listening to now that you think folks should be aware of?

IF:  I've been listening a lot to Jason Isbell's Southeastern these past few weeks; I hope everyone who might read this has already heard it.  Joe Fletcher has opened for Jason a few times recently on what is really an ideal bill, and I can't recommend Joe's White Lighter record highly enough; in fact, people will also want to seek out his earlier album, Bury Your Problems, from which he still plays a number of songs at his shows.  Also, the Rhode Island label 75orless put out two albums earlier this year that I'd suggest checking out: Allysen Callery's Mumblin' Sue and Rural Introspection Study Group by Haunt The House.  Finally, I urge people to buy every brown bird album out there: not just because they're great (and they all are) but because Dave and MorganEve could use the help right now while they're off the road.

5)      Music  festivals, in general,  are fairly well known for surprise sit ins, improvisational jams and collaborations. If you could see any two of this year’s acts collaborate on stage at this year’s NEA Festival, who would you like to see?

IF:  I'm hopeful that Brian Carroll, who I mentioned earlier, will be all around with his mandolin, popping up with a lot of folks.  I also have it on good authority that Jenee Halstead contributed her vocal talents to Dan Blakeslee's new record, so I'd like to hear that combination live.

6)      Why is creating music important to you? Why do you pick up your instrument and write songs? Why do you play that dive bar on a Thursday night? What keeps you going?

IF: I've been a music fan for a lot longer than I've been making music, so that still tends to be the
point of view from which I approach it.  I'm sure that other people feel this way about film or fine art or what have you; but for me, there is no stronger connection than that between a listener and a great performer playing a great song.  That's why I enjoy and have so much respect for solo performers: there is nothing separating the messenger from the message, no filter.  And I love folk music in particular because I can experience that connection with a performer from 80 or 90 years ago, and those songs are still as valid as they were then and are as valid, if not more so, than songs being written today.

Ian and Courtney play at 4 PM on Sunday the 29th at the Winthrop Stage.

No comments:

Post a Comment