Heartstrings Interview New Release Review

ALBUM REVIEW: Ian Fitzgerald’s ‘You Won’t Even Know I’m Gone’

By: Lauren Jahoda

He is a tender songwriter who composes with a flair and golden heart, seeking out faith over all obstacles and the burning flame of hope; his songs really take you on a journey.

Performer Magazine

New England native, Ian Fitzgerald releases his fifth album, You Won’t Even Know I’m Gone on November 18, with an album release show at The Columbus Theatre in Providence, RI (with Smith & Weeden serving as Ian’s backing band and opening sets by Haunt the House and Zach Schmidt). The way You Won’t Even Know I’m Gone begins reminds me a lot of Ian’s debut performance at Newport Folk Festival this past July. The feeling you receive from the opening of the first track on the record was similar to the way we felt when he opened his set at Newport.  With “Camille,” he jumps right in, letting us know he means business. There is no slow, dramatic build-up. Rather, “Camille” hooks you from the moment the line hits the water. Though many of us are used to seeing Ian as a solo performer, You Won’t Even Know I’m Gone, like at Newport, comes with the company of many of New England’s finest musicians, including Smith&Weeden, MorganEve Swain (Brown Bird, The Huntress and Holder of Hands) and co-producer/multi-instrumentalist Eric Lichter (Dirt Floor Studios). Those of us who know Ian personally were emotionally invested in his performance on the Newport stage, and were left with joyful tears by the time the final note of his critically-acclaimed set echoed against the fort walls. However, it was very clear that those who knew him weren’t the only ones moved by Ian’s performance that day. Those who were hearing him for the first time were embarking on a journey with one of today’s greatest songwriters. And it’s safe to say that You Won’t Even Know I’m Gone will have the same effect on its audience.

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Photo: Matthew Clowney

When I sat down with the record, I listened to it from start to finish three consecutive times. The obvious reason for this is that I loved what I was hearing. The less obvious reason is that Ian’s music isn’t, well…obvious. As I mentioned earlier, it’s music you invest in and music you spend time with. Taking the time to really hear and notice the skill and intellect in each line and discover the special subtleties of each track is the beauty of the experience as a listener of Ian’s music. Perhaps intentionally or not, a theme which felt present throughout the record is the ending of relationships. However, heartbreak wasn’t dominating the story lines, instead I felt the complexity and heaviness of the misunderstandings, misinterpretations, over-analyzations and unhealthiness that often comes along with deciding to go your separate ways after a relationship. If I had to choose a favorite track, it would be “Last to Know.” The high note Ian hits one minute in, when he sings, ‘You’ve earned your pass to paradise’… and the line, …The fonder that my heart grew, the more absent she became, ‘Til there weren’t any edges left to fray… are just two examples of moments that gave me the chills. My second choice would be a tie between “The First Port” (which I found to be fondly reminiscent of that of a Beatles tune) and “All That’s Left,” which served as the perfect closing to the record. It’s in this final track that Ian sings one of my favorite lyrics on the album:

…Before I left I wished her well, although I didn’t tell her. Wishing is just one step away from prayer.

The album is available for pre-order at www.ianfitzgeraldmusic.com.

Tickets for the album release show at the Columbus Theatre are on sale now at http://columbustheatre.com/event/ian-fitzgerald/.

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Photo: Kelly Burgess

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