Sometimes you see a performance and it's spectacular, a band you love or a veteran artist in her prime. Sometimes you see a performance by an artist that you've never heard; he may be young and his talent may need refining but there's something there. There's a spark, a potential, a striking presence and you know that you'll be hearing more from this guy. I saw Michael Bernard Fitzgerald at the Calgary Folk Festival last weekend. I didn't know who he was; I'm not his target market; his audience probably women under 30 (I may be female but I'm well over that hill now) but his songs stayed with me and he made a mark on my musical chart. It was more than his catchy pop tunes, it was a charming, boyish, self-deprecating humour that caught us all. On Sunday morning, a grey day when the weather turned, he had the audience on their feet and dancing for 'Brand New Spaces'; I didn't realize until I saw the low-budget but happy warm hearted video on You Tube, that everyone at the festival concert knew the dance from the video. That stomp, clap routine united us all like the Makarana but way more genuine, heartfelt, uplifting and Canadian.
There are too many "oh oh oh's" in his tunes but keep an eye on this guy. He's got guts, spirit and talent to take him far. He rented the Jack Singer concert Hall in Calgary for the launch of his CD in June and at one point had 120 musicians, dancers and artists sharing the stage with him - so he's a smart marketer to boot!
Check out his website, www.michaelbernardfitzgerald.com look for the videos, check him out live it you can and then you can say 'I saw him when...'