‘Love Valley’, the fifth album from Canadian singer-songwriter Michael Bernard Fitzgerald, is a joyous exploration into a warm and intricate depiction of a place that exists somewhere for every one of us. For Fitzgerald that place is called ‘Love Valley’.
With a rustic sounding guitar and hushed voice, Fitzgerald’s lyrics describe a life he longs to build, touching on simple details with such depth – painting a vivid picture for the listener. Far more than a typical singer-songwriter album, ‘Love Valley’ expands to vaster sonic vistas incorporating organic percussion, cinematic sweeping backdrops and flourishes of sax nestled with Fitzgerald’s relaxed voice and colourful stories front and centre.
New single, ‘I Love That Sound’ , out now, tells a story of intimacy; detailing the sound of a dress sliding off a loved one’s body and landing on the ground – skinny-dipping at magic hour after dinner at the end of a long day. “This story and dream could be anyone’s”, says Fitzgerald. “from any perspective – I think the addition of a female voice opens the song and story up to make room for the listener’s dreams as well,” he explains. “The instrumentation feels so good to me. I love the drop before the drums enter, Lyle Molzan plays live with us and made this track feel so good. The bass is warm and round, the acoustic is simple. We added Brett Resnik (Kacey Musgraves) with these effected sounding, sweeping pedal steel moments throughout.”, He adds.
‘I Love You,’ also to be a single later in the year alongside double A-side ‘Good Plates’, makes use of spaces to perfection with a beautifully unpolished dry studio band arrangement which blossoms curious bouncy countrified bass and quirky atmospheres delivering this pure sentiment with Willy Mason style lo-fi grit.
At OCL studios in Calgary, Canada, Fitzgerald and his long-time friend and producer Josh Rob Gwilliam worked closely to bring life to ‘Love Valley’. This allowed them to find concision and consistency throughout the record and the outcome is something fervent and purposeful. Each track is careful and quiet, allowing one to feel the intimacy of the project in the music. “This is the first record I’ve written completely on my own since my early recordings”, says Fitzgerald. “I decided to relearn how to write at home and penned most of this in the kitchen. Instead of writing about what I was experiencing, or what I had experienced I wrote about a dream for the future”, he explains. “I’ve started to wonder if these songs, that I sing hundreds of times a year, are slightly prophetic. With that in mind I wrote this thematic record about where I wanted to go, and how I wanted it to feel.”, he adds.
After over a decade of working with labels, creating songs with top-tier L.A. songwriters and producers including Jone Levine (Drake, Dua Lipa), Brian West (Maroon 5, K’naan), and Dennis Herring (Ra Ra Riot, Modest Mouse) on ‘About You’, and spending some time in the charts with ‘I Wanna Make it With You’ (2016) and ‘One Love’ (2016), Fitzgerald has finally found himself and a calm, rooted, unfeigned sound at home. A career of touring across Canada and around the world sharing the stage with artists like Bryan Adams, Ben Harper, Dan Mangan, Sam Roberts, Joel Plaskett, and Kings of Leon brought Michael back to his hometown, Calgary Alberta, to create his newest and most significant record to date: ‘Love Valley’.
‘Love Valley’ is the journey, the destination, and the whole story. It is the kind of record you want to listen to cover to cover – falling into the narrative and existing within it. In a culmination of Fitzgerald’s experience as a songwriter, the lyrics are intended and wistful, telling a story you cannot help but want to be a part of. The intimate vibe achieved with the newest record is something that Fitzgerald strives to convey in everything he creates – from song writing to live shows. If it was in a small club, large theatre, or at a festival, the spirit of honest connection with people has always existed in Fitzgerald’s performances.
This year, amidst the difficult lockdown situation, Fitzgerald created a unique take on live concerts. He will embark on a Canada-wide tour setting up on private farms and performing intimate concerts in a travelling open-air venue called “The Greenbriar.”
The Greenbriar is a romantic, quaint venue decorated with canvas curtains, a wood floor and antique chairs. As the sun goes down, the space glows with string lights and people take in their first live music in months – no more than five families at a time. It is comfortable like a living room but has the feel of a concert venue. The same experience is coming to the UK for Spring 2021 and we certainly can’t wait.
With ‘Love Valley’, Fitzgerald has created something hopeful, romantic, and optimistic – an accumulation of experience married with the dream of a life yet to be seen. The result is a composition of everywhere he has been and everywhere he hopes to go. The collection is replete with vibrant sun-drenched imagery, touches of melancholy and laced with earnest nostalgia.
Michael Bernard Fitzgerald and ‘The Greenbriar’ will finish a Calgary, Canada summer residency (53 Shows) and then will tour Canada for 48 shows in September/October. This will be followed up in the spring with a tour through UK and US April/May/June of 2021. Tickets available at: michaelbernardfitzgerald.com/tickets