Jeremy Fisher
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Jeremy Fisher

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"Jeremy Fisher - Goodbye Blue Monday"

Canadian singer/songwriter Jeremy Fisher’s latest album Goodbye Blue Monday is a tour-de-force in acoustic-based pop that calls to mind Simon and Garfunkel and Jackson Browne. The wanton exuberance brought forth on the 10-song release is equal parts charisma, skill, and lyrical wit. Complemented by drums, bass, glockenspiel, accordion, and piano, Goodbye Blue Monday opens up with the rollicking shuffle of “Scar That Never Heals,” which sounds like a long lost cut off of Parsley, Sage, Rosemary, and Thyme.

On the playful rattle of “Jolene,” Fisher sounds more like David Mead and Gary Jules as the pace slows down a bit and he begins to get contemplative about a suggested former lover. His first single off the record is the accordion-laced “Cigarette,” which boasts a bouncy sing along chorus and a hard-charging bass rhythm. It should be noted that a highly inventive animated video of “Cigarette” is available on YouTube. His second single is the blitheful “American Girls,” which shimmies like a hyper fireball and features a percussive backbeat as the Canadian laments the pitfalls of chasing down American women. On the solemn “Left Behind,” Fisher croons about the wear-and-tear of a life on the road and missing the comforts of home. The simple acoustic ballad echoes the more recent work of Josh Rouse and is equally pensive and panged.

On the radio-ready “Lay Down,” Fisher unleashes a commanding chorus bursting with swagger and confidence. If one song stands above the rest, this is it. Written for a highly publicized airplane killing in Florida, the track is awash with political intrigue, beautiful songcraft, and a soaring chorus. Lightening things up a bit is the Dan Bern-ish “High School,” in which Fisher waxes nostalgic about the ups and downs of adolescence — a song that received heavy airplay on Canadian radio and TV.

For an artist labeled as acoustic singer/songwriter, Fisher appears far from it. The disc pounces around in the liveliest of ways and makes this a dynamic, wholly original album. With a handful of radio-ready singles and an increasing buzz, I see no reason why Fisher won’t make a huge splash on the U.S. music scene.

Recommended if You Like
Simon and Garfunkel, David Mead, breezy acoustic singalongs

myspace.com/jeremyfisher


- AbsolutePunk.net


"4 TO WATCH: JEREMY FISHER"

FREE-SPIRITED SONGWRITER RAMBLES ON

Hometown: Hamilton, Ontario, Canada

Fun fact: When he was just 10, Fisher's parents took him and his sister out of school for a year to travel across Europe living in a VW bus.

Why he's worth watching: His homemade video for "Cigarette"—with its huge chorus, cheery mandolin and title character fashioned from modeling clay—has become an Internet phenomenon with more than two million viewers.
For fans of: Paul Simon, Tom Petty, Josh Rouse

Most independent musicians look forward to selling enough CDs, concert tickets and T-shirts to finally quit their day jobs. Canadian singer/songwriter Jeremy Fisher decided to skip that step—he just didn’t bother getting one. Instead, in 2002, he hooked up a trailer behind his bicycle, and peddled his way across North America—from Seattle to Halifax, Nova Scotia—passing the hat at free coffeehouse shows and busking in cities and towns in the northern U.S. and southern Canada. He’s since made two more cross-continent jaunts, growing his fanbase stop-by-stop.

So far, things have worked out, so Fisher probably won’t be job-hunting anytime soon. After self-releasing his first record, Back Porch Spirituals, labels starting taking interest, and he signed a publishing deal with Sony/ATV, followed by a record deal with Sony Music Canada. “I think I had three different A&R people, and I made one record with the company, [Let It Shine]. It was just too hard, so I asked if I could get out, and luckily I hadn’t sold a whole lot of records, so they didn’t mind letting me go.”

He then signed with Wind-Up Records for his first U.S. release, Goodbye Blue Monday. Fisher was a strange choice for a label best known for bands like Creed and Evanescence. “I guess they’re trying to branch out,” Fisher says. “It’s exciting to be on a label where they’re not saying, ‘OK, yeah, we’re just gonna do with him what we did with Evanescence,’ which is what it was like being on Sony. They were like, ‘Well, we’ll just plug him into the John Mayer patch, or James Blunt.’”

Fisher has come a long way since that first bike trip. “I think I’m kind of done with the cross-continental thing in North America. I might try [biking across] Europe. But my touring in America will largely be planes and cars.”

By Josh Jackson - Paste Magazine


Discography

Goodbye Blue Monday (2007)
Let it Shine (2004)
Back Porch Spirituals (2001)

Photos

Bio

“I’m highly motivated,” says postmillennial troubadour Jeremy Fisher. “I love getting my hands in there.” The Vancouver-based writer/artist used those hands (which are generally affixed to his trusty acoustic guitar) to shoot the stop-motion footage and fashion the anthropomorphic title character of his $60 homemade video for “Cigarette,” which has became a viral phenomenon of mega-proportions on YouTube, with north of 2 million views as this is written.

Jeremy has a tendency to get his legs involved as well: In 2002, he biked across the entire continent, from Seattle to Halifax, Nova Scotia—and that’s a loooooong way, folks—to promote his first album, Back Porch Spirituals, recorded in a friend’s basement. That trek took six months and included 30 official shows, plus a number of impromptu performances, and it laid the foundation for what is now a sizable fan base in Fisher’s native Canada. He also has a history of busking in the more conventional manner—whatever it takes to get his music heard. We’re talkin’ grass-roots, interactive DIY to the max with this talented and dedicated—or maybe driven is a better word—young artist.

Fisher’s new album, Goodbye Blue Monday (released in the U.S. September 18 on Wind-up Records), is a timeless burst of acoustic rock & roll that’s brainy and hook-filled, playful and provocative, all at the same time. Take “Cigarette,” which employs the cancer stick as a metaphor for addictive relationships—the enticement, the yearning, the withdrawal and the damage. Or “Scar That Never Heals,” which examines the anatomy of heartbreak. At the same time, both are thoroughly infectious tracks with choruses that are, well, addictive. That’s Fisher’s M.O.

The album’s extremes are represented by the buoyant “High School” (a recut version of the single from Fisher’s second album, Let It Shine, which picked up substantial airplay in Canada) on the one hand, and the politically charged “American Girls” and “Lay Down (Ballad of Rigoberto Alpizar)” on the other. This is the sort of record that sounds like you’ve been playing it forever even as it explores themes that are altogether unprecedented—and that is no mean feat. Says Hawksley Workman (Tegan & Sara), who produced, played and sang backing vocals on the album, “Jeremy’s a brilliant and direct songwriter with a bright soul.”

As a curly-haired singer with an acoustic guitar, Fisher gets the requisite comparisons to Bob Dylan, while his boyish tenor, dexterous fingerpicking and electrifying hooks eerily recall Paul Simon. “It was a little weird to hear that sort of stuff at first,” he says, “but I’m really flattered that people see those resemblances, and I’m sure that some of the records Simon and Dylan listened to are in my collection—Delta blues singers like Charlie Patton, Robert Johnson, Mississippi John Hurt and Big Bill Broonzy, Alan Lomax’s field recordings, Depression-era stuff. For some reason, I identified with all that old stuff when I was going through this renaissance in my songwriting—it’s what inspired me to continue making music.”

With one foot in roots idioms and the other in rock, Fisher has an unusually broad palate to work with. He spent by far the greater part of his career playing solo, and there’s a disarming spontaneity to his performances. “I’ve probably done 80 percent of my shows solo,” he says, “and I built my thing on top of that. When I was busking, I shed all the things I’d been doing that didn’t work—it developed my songwriting and my performing, and it built my confidence. I feel like I really came into my own performing on the street, and for a while that’s all I wanted to do. So it’s been a hard road trying to find the right band, and the newest incarnation of my band is starting to feel the closest to how comfortable I am as a solo performer.”

As committed as he is to having fun, Fisher is totally serious about his mission. “Music can do a lot of things,” he says, “but the greatest thing music can do is to make listening to a record the best three-and-a-half minutes of your day, or the best night of your week when you go to a show. It’s an escape from the hum-drum; it’s a drug that’s actually good for you. What I’m really trying to do is relate to people on a human level, and in my songs I tend to gravitate toward the human element of a story. For example, ‘Lay Down (Ballad of Rigoberto Alpizar)’ is about a guy who got murdered by an air marshal in the Miami Airport, but the viewpoint I use is the fictitious voice of the guy who shot him. So what I’m trying to do is communicate with people, and music is the best way I know how to do that. Music is such a mysterious thing, because it’s pretty much invisible, but a song can convey an amazing amount of emotion.”

That’s certainly the case with “American Girls,” which boasts another audaciously unsettling premise. “I wrote the chorus and lyrics immediately after reading the verdict on Private Lynndie England, who was the Abu Ghraib soldie