Michael Bernard Fitzgerald
Friday, Dec. 15 at 7:30 p.m.
5 St. Anne Street
Tickets: $34 plus fees. Call 780-459-1542 or at http://www.ticketmaster.ca
For Michael Bernard Fitzgerald, touring is simply an extension of filling an unspoken contract with his audience.
“Making music and travelling around are the real benefits, the connecting moments with people. You might be travelling in a car for 10 hours, but the moments you get to be with people – they fill your tank,” Fitzgerald said.
So far, he’s toured Europe three times this year and spent several weeks in Nashville broadening his contact network and writing more alternative rock-pop songs for a followup album to the successful 2016 chart climber I Want to Make It With You.
I Want to Make It With You, an 18-track album offering a mix of upbeat songs and down-tempo ballads, was inspired after Fitzgerald and his ex-girlfriend broke off wedding plans.
He retreated to Los Angeles to hang out with friends and instead spilled his emotions into a series of heartfelt lyrics. It was exactly what the veteran singer-songwriter needed.
“This was the most intense record I have ever created. I had no refrain. I put down what I felt. There was no spellcheck. The conversation was more intense,” said Fitzgerald.
His songs clearly connected with fans who have snapped up tickets to his 13-stop Western Canadian tour from Winnipeg, Manitoba to Fernie, British Columbia.
He parks his guitar at the Arden Theatre on Friday, Dec. 15 accompanied by guitarist Dylan MacDonald, keyboardist Liam Duncan, bass guitar John Baron and drummer Roman Clarke.
On the surface, it may seem strange that a pop-folk recording artist’s favourite writing hangout is Nashville, the country capital of the world. Fitzgerald sees it differently.
“I love storytelling. I love how music lives and how storytelling writing lives close to hope. At the core lots of country songs stripped down can be classified as pop tunes. Sometimes they’re just acoustic songs with more drive. But I always write with an element of authenticity and universality. And no matter what, I always try to make sure hope is in every song.”
Fitzgerald is in a good place artistically, and he is test driving new songs throughout the tour. While hope continues to be a big theme in recent songs, the Calgary-based singer-songwriter is more confident in selecting the songs he loves.
“I know how I want to portray myself. I want to sound like I’m making music with friends. It’s important to know what you stand for.”
In the past decade, Fitzgerald performed at the 2017 Arden season launch, Edmonton Folk Fest, Canada Day, and at the Starlite Room more times than he can count.
“My concerts are meant to be laid back and super friendly. People come out to enjoy a nice show and I’m the guy on the lookout for what happens in between the quiet moments. I’m really looking forward to getting back to St. Albert and playing at the theatre.”