November 24, 2020
Nov. 24, 2020
By Kristena Schutt-Moore
The Fitzgeralds family have sold out theatres, community centres and concert venues for generations. Their unique music, inspired by their family heritage, is a community favourite. Despite COVID-19 this music can still be listened to as The Fitzgeralds have released a new CD. Bancroft This Week talked with the Fitzgeralds about their new music.
Q: When was the CD released?
A: In 2019. Nominated for the 2020 Canadian Folk Music Awards for Instrumental Group of the Year!
Q: What is it called?
A: Self-titled The Fitzgeralds.
Q: Where can it be found for purchase?
A: Physical copies are available locally in Ormsby at the Old Hastings Mercantile and Gallery. They are also available by emailing us at email@example.com. Digital copies are available via iTunes/ Apple Music at https://music.apple.com/us/album/the-fitzgeralds/1469154244, and Spotify. We understand that with the changing times, people tend to prefer digital copies of artist albums. However, the best way to support artists directly is by purchasing physical copies, as the artists only receive a small fraction of the fees when purchased as digital copies via online services.
Q: What type of music is on it?
A: We include a mix of original and traditional instrumental fiddle music (Celtic, East Coast, Texas swing). Our original music is certainly influenced by the Celtic styles including Irish, Scottish, and French Canadian. We also included a few vocal numbers including a Texas swing song as well as a Celtic version of a song from the ‘80s.
Q: How many songs, are they old favourites or are these new ones you wrote? What are a few of the song titles?
A: Our new album includes 13 tracks, which is around 25 tunes total. A couple popular tracks include:
• “Over The Rainbow.” This track is actually just Tom playing three parts at once. He uses a certain bowing technique that allows him to play three or four strings at once, making it sound like multiple musicians. It is pretty incredible, and we were glad to capture this on our album!
• “PEI Set.” East coast dance music, including a strathspey and two reels,
• “Lakehouse.” A jig written after the Lakehouse Restaurant in Paudash that we frequented often!
Q: Did you incorporate the step dancing you are known for into the CD?
A: We can’t help ourselves! We did add a bit of step dancing in Lakehouse as well as a track called Garage Band Guru.
On a side note, we are all avid hockey players, and always love the winter time to go skating at the rink in Maynooth. Kerry wrote a tune called Greenwood Girls, written after a group of ladies (including Kerry and I) who get together and play hockey in Toronto. On this track, we actually included some audio from back home in Maynooth of a family game of shinny. So, you can hear some skating and pucks being passed around on the track, which is a lot of fun to hear!
Q: Who performed on the CD?
A: Julie Fitzgerald on fiddle, piano, and step dance. Tom Fitzgerald on fiddle, guitar, and vocals. Kerry Fitzgerald on fiddle, piano, step dance, and U-bass. Additional musicians are Kyle Waymouth on guitar and banjo, and Jacob McCauley on bodhran.
Q: How many CDs has your band made?
A: As this new band configuration The Fitzgeralds, this is our second album. Our first album was released in 2016. Previously, we also performed as the full family band including Mom, Dad, and four siblings. We had recorded three albums and two DVDs as Everything Fitz. We still have a few copies left of the family DVD which was recorded in Halliburton, Ontario and can be purchased by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org
Q: What was the inspiration behind this CD?
A: Our musical roots are in Celtic and Canadian fiddle styles, which have been influenced by Irish, Scottish, and French Canadian immigrants. In our albums we like to reflect on these musical roots by playing some traditional Celtic and Canadian music. We have all enjoyed writing our own instrumental music, and when you listen to the album, you will notice that the original music certainly has Celtic and Canadian roots in the sound. With three fiddles as the leads, we really enjoy arranging traditional and Celtic sounding tunes with modern arranging techniques. So, I guess our inspiration behind this CD is to allow our own individuality to come through while paying tribute to our roots. In the liner notes, we like to explain the names for the tunes, as each tune tells its own story of our experiences traveling, as well as our experiences growing up in a small town in rural Ontario.
Q: Where and how was the CD made?
A: With technology these days, we were able to create a professional sounding album at our parents’ house in Bancroft. To record out in the country in a familiar space was a highlight for us! Unfortunately, due to COVID-19, almost all of our performances in 2020 as well as into 2021 have been postponed or cancelled. It has made it more difficult to get our new album out but we’ve been doing the best we can through online means until we can perform live again!
During the last eight months of COVID-19, we have used this opportunity to create some more new material, including some new dance numbers as well as putting together some new sets of music and vocal numbers. We will be excited to bring this new material to our audiences when live performances start up again! This time at home has also allowed each one of us to individually work on our solo projects:
Kerry has been releasing her solo music through Bandcamp: https://kerryfitzgerald.bandcamp.com/music. She also has a solo album called Fiddle-BeaTZ available off her website www.kerryfitzgerald.ca.
Julie has been creating online instructional videos, with new material available via her website www.juliefitzgerald.ca. Beginner, intermediate, and advanced levels are available. She also has an instructional step dance DVD, available via her website.
Keep up to date with upcoming tour dates and other news by signing up to our E-newsletter via www.thefitzgeralds.net also like us on Facebook and Instagram.