Rae Fitzgerald & Co.
Gig Seeker Pro

Rae Fitzgerald & Co.

Columbia, Missouri, United States | Established. Jan 01, 2014 | SELF | AFM

Columbia, Missouri, United States | SELF | AFM
Established on Jan, 2014
Band Folk Indie


This band has not uploaded any videos
This band has not uploaded any videos



"New Record Finds Fitzgerald Swimming in Soulful Depths"

A criminally underrated act from the latter half of the 1990s, Bay Area jangle-rockers Dime Store Prophets once posed the question: "Does anybody know how it feels … to be swimming in a reservoir of soul?"

Judging by the contents of her new record, "Quitting the Machine," Rae Fitzgerald can raise her hand. The local singer-songwriter has created a truly soulful document — it's not soul music by genre so much as by intention. Fitzgerald peers behind the fleshy curtain of our humanity into the most neglected corners of the soul, proving she belongs in the company of dime-store prophets, shoe-leather street preachers and blue-collar soothsayers.

The record is a spiritual one, even if Fitzgerald sounds agnostic about religion — it's stocked with hymns to heartbreak and gospel songs about flawed and failed saviors. Never does she sin by ceding her lovelorn lyrics to tempting, well-worn clichés; instead, each and every phrase is a balanced portrait of fragility and fortitude.

Fitzgerald's crackerjack band, whose principals include Ian Vardell, Josh Chittum, Phylshawn Johnson and Wil Reeves, beautifully paints her poetry. The collective brings genuine warmth to sentiments that are often weathered and wind-burnt, accentuating the deep shadows and glints of light inherent in her words.

By and large, these songs exist at the intersection of folk and indie rock, marked by shuffling rhythms, rocksteady grooves and dynamic slow-burns. Aesthetically, Fitzgerald comes across as a more citified Gillian Welch or like-minded friend to Sharon Van Etten. She and her band exert a sense of cool control, altering the mood at a moment's notice and coaxing out all the ambience and atmosphere each song can handle. Each arrangement suitably frames Fitzgerald's voice.

And oh, that voice. It's a robust and radiant instrument, worldly and vulnerable all at once, each little fork and bend in a melody like a journey unto itself. Fitzgerald's is a voice crying out for genuine intimacy and connection in a wilderness of detachment and clean-conscience disentanglements. It's that deep-seated cry — and her band's ability to amplify it — that makes "Quitting the Machine" a real reservoir of sound and soul. - Aarik Danielsen, Columbia Daily Tribune

"Big Things in Small Packages: Meet Rae Fitzgerald"

One of the things I like best about being a member of the MoonRunners family is continually being exposed to brilliant music that I likely would never hear otherwise. I have learned so much and met incredible people and being able to share that experience with others is one of the favorite things in my life. That's what we're about - sharing stuff that is real, stuff that matters. Most of the people I have been privileged to meet have a fairly strong standing in the music industry. They have records and tours under their belt, festivals and many live shows, and people know who they are. I absolutely love getting to know these artists and being able to pick their brains and ask questions makes me crazy happy. It's not very often that I see someone I have never heard of before and think, "Wow, something big is coming from this one," but that is exactly what happened when I met Rae Fitzgerald. I knew after seeing her perform once that I wanted to talk to her and get her name out and about past the boundaries of Columbia, MO, and I have been back to see her for more since.
Rae is a tiny thing with a big voice. Short and slight in stature, Fitzgerald's speaking voice is much deeper than you'd imagine. It's a voice that makes you look up from what you're doing to figure out who owns it. It's a voice that carries even though it isn't loud, and I learned pretty early on that listening to that voice is a good idea because it's almost always saying something worth hearing. Standing on stage between two guys with their own instruments, she plays a guitar that is nearly as big as she is and she plays it like a boss. With tiny, old school, blue open suitcase filled with her two cd's she sells for a donation at her feet, she most certainly is hard to miss. If your eyes don't catch her, your ears will grab you by the collar and force you to have a sit and hear her out.
I think this might be the first interview she has ever done, but you'd never know it. Take a minute and get to know Rae Fitzgerald. I promise, you'll be hearing big things from her in the future.
Did you come from a musical family?
I didn't come from a particularly musical family, at least not a family that played music publicly. But my dad has a really excellent voice, and I grew up trying to sing harmonies to country tunes he would sing, mostly while driving. Our family was really religious, and my mother played a lot of hymns on the piano. When I was about twelve, she started writing her own hymns on the piano, and though she didn't have a particularly good voice, she found playing and singing those songs to be pretty cathartic. No one but our immediate family ever knew she did it though.

When did you start playing music?
Singing in our church choir was the first real experience I had with performing music. As far as writing goes, I had a passion for poetry, but quickly realized that not many people read it. I picked up a guitar for the sole purpose of writing my own songs, and I had probably written twenty before I ever tried to learn a cover. Music took on a new importance for me when I realized that it could be a palate for lyrical content. At some point it occurred to me that there were facets of feeling and human emotion that were completely incapable of being described by words, making songwriting an even more powerful tool; it was the medium through which I could articulate the ineffable.

Have you always played guitar?
I've been playing acoustic guitar since seventeen, and it's been my main instrument. More recently, I've been writing with keys and doing some electric guitar and bass work.
Do you have formal training?
I don't have any kind of formal training, but it don't really consider it a hindrance. (ed. note: This is probably my favorite answer to a question ever.)
Tell me about your early experiences playing live. Was it this same style of roots music or did another style have your attention?
My first performances were open mics. I started showing up weekly to Nature's Cup, a local coffee shop in Farmington, MO, where I spent my last two years of high school. It closed right before I moved away to college, but for a couple years, I would show up every week with my friends, and I'd play a set. Nature's Cup also hosted a lot of rad shows, and it's the first place that booked me. I think open mics are the most organic way to learn the art of performance and how to engage an audience.
Though my songs started off less rootsy, I've always considered myself to be a folk musician. I modeled my songwriting after iconic artists like Elliott Smith, Conor Oberst, Sufjan Stevens, Cat Power & Gillian Welch. My last album, Quitting the Machine, has a very americana sound. Although I don't think that "twang" will be as prevalent in the next album, my songs will always have a rootsy thread. I was raised in Alabama and southern Missouri around a lot of gospel and old-timey sounds, and those influences just run to deep not to be present in aspects of my own music.
And the other musicians playing with you now. How long have you been playing together? How did you find one another?
Right now I routinely play with Josh Chittum, who plays melodica and some keys, and Ian Vardell, who play electric and acoustic guitar. I've been playing with Josh for over five years, and we actually met in a different band. He played on the first record I released, "Of War & Water" in 2011, as well as "Quitting the Machine" in 2013. I've only been playing with Ian Vardell for about a year and half, and his guitar work is very present in the 2013 release.
Lucas Oswald was a big player in "Of War & Water," as well as the engineer and producer. He's probably influenced my music more than anyone else. I met him in 2009, I think, and he's responsible for me meeting almost everyone in the Columbia music scene, including players, bookers, sound engineers. He's currently in the band Shearwater, and in the past he's been involved with Appleseed Cast, Old Canes and Minus Story. Although he was not present in "Quitting the Machine," definitely look for him again in future releases.
Wil Reeves of Centro Cellar Studios in Columbia has played bass on every record I've done, and he recorded and mixed the last record. Ted Carstensen and Phylshawn Johnson have both drummed for me.
I'm always interested in hearing people cutting their teeth in the music industry talk about what their expectations are and what they consider to be success. What do you feel is the hardest part about trying to make it in the music industry? And what do you consider "making it?"
I don't really know if there is any "making it" in the music industry anymore, and if there is, I feel like the decision of who does is somewhat arbitrary. You have the complete shit, homogenous ear trash that's on top 20, that I don't even consider music. Then you have the droves of garageband musicians who record an album and decide they want to tour, and they saturate every scene. Not that they aren't talented; I've met a plethora of immensely talented musicians that will probably never be heard on any kind of large scale. But that's kind of my point, I guess; because almost everyone has access to recording tools that used to be a luxury, everything is saturated, and it's a lot harder to stand out. It's very egalitarian in a sense, but the dream of "making it big" seems less achievable. And who knows, maybe that's a good thing.
For me, financial success would just mean being able to support myself and family on a modest income. I think my definition of "making it" is being able to keep make interesting songs and records and having at least a small audience that appreciates my work deeply.
I told you she has things to say!
You can listen to Rae's music on her ReverbNation page, find her on Facebook, and if you happen to be in a town where she has a show, go throw some money in her jar and listen her perform. You'll be glad you took the time to do so. - Sarah Wells Kohl, MoonRunner

"Carefree style makes songwriter Rae Fitzgerald an artist worthy of attention"

Five minutes.

That’s how far Rae Fitzgerald, local singer-songwriter, plans ahead in her day-to-day life. She describes her life as uncomplicated and her music as traditional folk.

She is the disheveled brunette behind the counter at Shakespeare’s Pizza, and her personality is about as atypical and fast-paced as the downtown Columbia pizza joint where she works. She thinks music is a cultural historian and sees the influence of thought-provoking lyrics as limitless. She writes tales of the times, the mystical, life in the Midwest, ruinous love affairs and the process of losing one’s mind.

“She’s always been her own entity,” said Lucas Oswald, Fitzgerald’s producer. “It was really awesome to witness her coming into that.”

Oswald has been with Fitzgerald since the beginning of her musical journey — a journey that has moved Fitzgerald from Kirksville to Columbia, from her original band, Mulanix Street Orchestra, to solo artist. This excursion forced Fitzgerald to face instability and to live life by anything but a plan.

“This musician’s lifestyle never comes with security,” Fitzgerald said. “It kind of feels like a dream I should wake up from if I ever want to make any money.”

What she calls the “broke lifestyle” is balanced by her current employment at the local college hangout. Her schedule changes week to week, depending on the concerts she performs or the whims she indulges in. She said her job complements her ever-changing lifestyle, with the restaurant’s staff mostly composed of musicians, artists and writers and its supportive demeanor toward her craft.

“Our atmosphere here is very creative and eclectic. Musicians like Rae kind of fit the wallpaper,” said Cara Giessing, a manager at Shakespeare’s Pizza.

But this easy-go-lucky lifestyle was not the map Fitzgerald had always drawn for herself. When she entered Truman State University after high school, she never imagined the endless string of poetry classes and songwriting in her dorm room would lead her to where she is now. But after writing her first song in high school, Fitzgerald said she knew she had found her passion and a means to express her deepest thoughts and discomforts to the world. It was only a matter of time before that zeal for her art overcame her instinct to live the mainstream, 9-to-5 lifestyle.

“I never thought of this as a career choice, as a means to make money,” Fitzgerald said. “I just thought of it as something I wanted to do all the time.”

In a daring act that seems effortless in movies but that few actually execute in reality, Fitzgerald took a leap, dropped out of school and chased the one love that has never let her down: her music. She moved to Columbia a little less than a year ago looking for a fresh start and has already become a regular performer at Mojo’s and The Blue Fugue.

“The chance to collaborate with the other musicians here has been huge,” Fitzgerald said. “That’s what inspires me to grow as an artist.”

Her ambition is not to be rich or even to travel the world. Her objective is to reach an audience with the power of her lyrical inimitability and melodic message.

“Even if I am forced to go back to school or get a more full-time job, I definitely wouldn’t stop playing music,” Fitzgerald said. “It’s just in me — the urge to pick up a guitar and write a song — whether it’s paying my bills or not.”

Earlier this year, Fitzgerald had intended on taking a Midwestern tour but instead made a spur-of-the-moment decision to take a personal detour from the pressures of life. She spent her summer writing songs based on short, spontaneous summer vacations and whatever she was feeling at the moment. Within the past few months, she quickly recorded the songs for a new album with her local label, Yards & Gods.

“Rae’s a very humble and frugal person,” Oswald said. “Her efforts are put primarily toward her art and her relationships with people around her; she’s not really wrapped up in the usual distractions. I doubt she kept up with the World Series, but I’m sure you can find overdue CDs from the library in her car.”

With inspirations that range from Bob Dylan to Gillian Welch, Fitzgerald creates songs she said she hopes will make her fans think about something new, thereby initiating a new kind of creative desire in each listener.

“Just being able to have people relate to my music is enough,” Fitzgerald said.

Although Fitzgerald said she hopes her music will leave a lasting, meaningful impact on fans that will transcend the moment, she lives her life by nothing but five minutes at a time.

“The next step for me?” Fitzgerald said. “I don’t know. I haven’t figured that out yet.” - Columbia Daily Tribune

"Interview with Singer-Songwriter Rae Fitzgerald"

"It's no secret that I reek of the old world." Such poetic lyricism runs deep through the songs of Rae Fitzgerald. The Columbia, Missouri singer-songwriter's latest release "Popular Songs for Wholesome Families" is a tapestry both rich in sound and brave in scope, a flourish of originality and earnestness, resolute, determined, exploratory. "What does it mean to quit the machine" one of the many questions asked on this unique and vibrant album. Here Rae talks musical memories, DIY spaces, the healing potential of songs to free us up and help us move on, and the common threads that make all of our stories and experiences ones worth telling.

AHC: What has this journey in music, so far, been like for you, the highs and the lows, and what sort of life lessons do you feel you've picked up along the way?

Performing music was always emotionally rewarding, from the first time I ever played an open mic at 17. It's still really rewarding, but in a different way. It used to feel like an expulsion of feeling, and now (whether because of the material or just the life stage I'm in) it's more like a recounting/analysis of events that have transpired. Sometimes when I'm on stage, I feel like I'm trying to explain to the audience how I got to this place in my life, what made me the person I am.

The highs are the creation part--when I'm sitting on the floor in front of a keyboard or showing my bandmates a song for the first time. It's also a "high" to really connect with a crowd from the stage and feel like I'm injecting them with a particularly emotional experience.

Any musical lows I've experienced revolve around trying to get the music out there more. These days, there's a lot of freedom for DIY musicians. And there are also a sobering amount of difficulties when it comes to trying to make a living off of art. The two could work perfectly together, but there's not always a way to keep them balanced.

AHC: What first drew you to music and what was your early musical environment like growing up? Were there pivotal songs for you then that just floored you the moment you heard them?

I grew up in an extremely Christian household, and I was only allowed to listen to Christian music as a child. I always thought the hymn "Rock of Ages" was pretty epic and heavy. I liked the imagery of the death scene in juxtaposition with the narrator's hope for redemption. But I didn't have any eye-opening musical moments until I lost my religion at about 17.

At 17, I started attending my first public, non-Christian school, and thanks to a hip group of friends, I was exposed to music that still ranks among my favorite. I started delving into Cat Power, Elliott Smith, Sufjan Stevens and Bright Eyes. I got a hold of the Bright Eyes album "I'm Wide Awake It's Morning," and it blew my mind. I listened to "Old Soul Song (For the New World Order) about a thousand times. It was so sad, so of-the-times, so perfect.

AHC: Do you remember the first song that you ever wrote? Or that first moment when you picked up a pen and realized that you could create whole worlds just by putting it to paper?

I've written poetry as long as I can remember. But I didn't put it to song until 17. I'd had an acoustic guitar for years, but I'd never picked it up. I had absolutely no interest in learning covers. The first song I learned was the first one I wrote. I was surprised how easily it happened. It wasn't a struggle; it just poured out. The biggest struggle was training my fingers to make the chords. I've written so much since then, entire albums of demos and full songs that have never seen light.

AHC: Which musicians have you learned the most from? Or writers, artists, filmmakers etc?

As far as lyric writers, which is what I am before anything else, I guess, Conor Oberst had a profound effect on me. I know he's a divisive character in the indie world, and most people either hate him or love him. But most people have to admit that every word he sings adds to a sequence that fits together perfectly. He's really wordy, of course.

My earlier work was extremely wordy. Since then, I've been trying to pare down my lyrics so that each word is forced to be more intentional. I think Sharon van Etten is really great at that. As far as musicians whose composition style has inspired me, Cat Power's minimalistic orchestration is right up my alley. Even the simplest of her songs is packed with emotion.

AHC: What do you think makes for a good song, as you're writing and composing, is there a sudden moment when you know you've found the right mix, that perfect angle of light, so to speak?

I don't think I've ever recorded a song exactly the way I first heard it in my head. Bits get lost in translation; they get lost when other instruments are added; they get drowned out with other ideas of production. As long as the idea can still be seen after it's been dressed up, I think it's honest. The perfect angle for me is that intersection between familiarity, a pleasurable aesthetic and a universal realization.

AHC: Do you consider music to be a type of healing art, the perfect vehicle through which to translate a feeling, a state of rupture, hope lost and regained? Does the writing and creating of the song save you in the kinds of ways that it saves us, the listener?

It definitely does. Every time I can put an emotional trauma or an ecstatic realization or a moment of pure joy into a song and on a record, it frees me up to move on. It's like it almost allows me to clear up space on my mental hard drive. I can delete it, because it's always on the document (the record) for me to revisit if need be. It sort of frees me up to forget a lot of things and maybe contributes to some airhead-ed-ness.

AHC: What are your fondest musical memories? In your house? In your neighborhood or town? On-tour, on-the-road?

Some of my best musical memories are actually in the studio. I love recording. I'm a procrastinator, and I get some of my best ideas at the last minute. I've played some larger shows with nationally touring acts, but they're never my favorite. I love DIY spaces and living room shows where everything is bare and everyone is there just to have an experience.

AHC: Your album titles are all very unique and they also have a sort of common thread, in the sense that they each seem to carry a kind of critical political weight, Of War & Water, Quitting The Machine and Popular Songs for Wholesome Families, was this intentional, having each of these album titles bare down on certain themes up front? When you set out to write an album of songs, how much does 'where the world is' in its current moment, culturally, politically, otherwise, influence the kinds of stories you set out to tell?

Up to this point, I haven't intentionally written about the social and political climate as much as they've just been captured by the songs. I've always thought of my songs as time capsules, and the political climate really affects me, so it inevitably ends up being illustrated in my work. However, I'm currently working on an EP that's shaping up to be more politically motivated than the others. I don't have a name for it yet, but it will be out this winter.

AHC: With the traditional ways that we listen to music rapidly changing, does it affect how you write and put together an album? Too often people are downloading and engaging with singular songs rather than albums as on ordered and thematic canvas, do you regret that your work may not be received in the way it was intended or created?

I definitely do. I wish our listening culture was interested in hearing the whole album, front to back, before skipping to tracks two and three. But I'm aware of it, and I planned my last album accordingly. I know that people rarely dig into my work as deeply as the lyrics intend for them to, but it makes the avid, deep-cuts listener even more precious to me.

AHC: Do you have any words of advice for other musicians and singer-songwriters or anyone who is struggling to create something of value out there, who are just starting out and trying to find their voice and their way in this wold? What are the kinds of things that you tell yourself when you begin to have doubts or are struggling with the creative process?

Anyone can be an artist. Whether she becomes one or not rests in whether or not she discovers how to present it. With so many experiences in the world, the only ones we're really adept at describing are our own. I think a good way to begin is to describe an event, memory or image with as much detail as possible and then attempt to extend it to a universal truth. Though our day-to-day experiences vary greatly, they each contain threads of the human experience. That's what I think is worth capturing.

AHC: Do you have any new projects you'd like to mention?

Yes! I'm working on a five-song EP with my four bandmates, and it's really pushing the boundaries of "singer-songwriter." The sound palate is a lot different than my previous work; it's weirder, more full-band-centric, and very political. It doesn't have a name yet, and there's no official release date, but anyone interested should look for it this winter on Bandcamp.com.

For more visit raefitzgerald.bandcamp.com/ - Anti-Heroin Chic

"Human touch: Rae Fitzgerald’s latest is as personal as it is progressive"

The easy narrative surrounding “Popular Songs for Wholesome Families” has to do with Rae Fitzgerald’s musical evolution. A perpetually excellent songwriter, her prior records were rooted in an earthy aesthetic, digging in the dirt of folk, rock and soul.

Columbia audiences have witnessed Fitzgerald’s gifts in the years she lived here exclusively and in the years since as she has traveled between Missouri and Austin, Texas.

On her latest, Fitzgerald’s songs are alternately, sometimes simultaneously, bathed in light and swallowed up in shadow. Deep synth throbs, fuzzy basslines, cavernous drums and electronic washes introduce dream-pop and alt-R&B colors to her palette so that, at various moments, traces of The National, Laura Marling, Cat Power or Polica can be heard.

But, as the record itself proves, Fitzgerald has never been one for easy narratives.

She wastes little time initiating hard conversations. From the first bars of opener “Earth, Everything” onward, Fitzgerald dives deep into verses about losing one’s religion — and the guilt that accompanies that sea change, unrequited love and coming out from under the safe but overwhelming shadow of one’s family tree.

A lingering fear of God and an ever-present fear of man’s judgment haunt the album as Fitzgerald sings early and often about trying to find love, then realizing what she has found sets other people’s teeth on edge.

Emotionally, these songs are uncommonly raw; they are musically fearless in equal measure. Fitzgerald takes turns setting fires, putting them out and standing back to watch them smolder.

Over warm vibraphone, Fitzgerald unspools the verses of “Earth, Everything.”

She sings of white kids getting lost in alcohol, cigarettes and each other while Ferguson burns; the more she sings, the more undone she is by longing.

All these threads knot together as she imagines an alien visitor caught off-guard by all the heartache — “Welcome to Earth, everything hurts,” she sings over a restless groove.

Next, “Jackal II” opens with Fitzgerald’s voice over bellowing keys. Phylshawn Johnson’s rocksteady drumming brings momentum, then guitar and keys twine to give the listener a little buzz.

Fitzgerald finds every minute bend in the melody — “I won’t pay the same price twice,” she sings in quietly staggering fashion.

Perhaps the record’s most memorable song, “Copper & Genesis” opens with a devastatingly gorgeous scene:

“I want to be the name you call to your sick bed / When medicine fails to calm you, I’ll be left / Holding the light of God / Living the dark of man / Wrapping my cards in red / Kissing your tired head.”

Musically, the song achieves a soulful trot, punctuated by Emma Tinker-Fortel’s trumpet. Fitzgerald’s verses, while not conventionally romantic, express a sort of devotion most balladeers never access.

Elsewhere, “Yr. Side of the Mtn.” carries a rich melodic ache. “False Moon” and “Lost in Ukrainian Village” recontextualize the blues, translating the grooves and laments of that form into a different musical language.

“Dark Man” presses hard into themes of faith slipping through fingers as Fitzgerald drops devastating juxtapositions such as “Holy father / foster daughter.”

Fitzgerald’s unguarded look at religion and ability to convey deeply personal emotions through the cooler, more detached language of electronic sound reveals similarities to David Bazan.

His latest release, “Blanco,” is of a kind with “Popular Songs.”

Fitzgerald is the brains and guts of this record, but she achieves a beautiful unity with producer — and former Mid-Missourian — Lucas Oswald. With the help of Johnson, Tinker-Fortel and instrumentalists Aaron Little and Ian Vardell, they create something that resonates more deeply than the average — or even above-average — record.

Fitzgerald’s words possess the power to bring listeners to their knees. But the songs are invested of enough humanity — and with enough magical moving parts — that the record is no depression.

Rather, it cuts through comforts and defense mechanisms to expose the simplest and most profound things we own — body and soul — and help us see both with new eyes. - Columbia Daily Tribune

"Odds and ends from a great year in music - Rae Fitzgerald had the best Missouri-made album of the year"

Favorite Missouri-made albums:

1. Rae Fitzgerald, “Popular Songs for Wholesome Families” Fitzgerald conveys that “Everybody Hurts” better than R.E.M. ever did. Her wrenching words examine love, loss and isolation from every conceivable angle. This time out, she echoes her lyrical vulnerability by stretching herself and expanding her palette from folk and blues to include the colors of rock and synth-pop.

2. Jack Grelle, “Got Dressed Up to Be Let Down”

3. The Royal Furs, “Fever Dream”

4. The Many Colored Death, “Duchess”

5. Devin Frank, “Vanishing Blues” - Columbia Daily Tribune


The beauty about getting older is that one gets to experience all that this world and life have to offer. The trouble in getting older is that not all of those experiences are good or positive. When we’re young, we thrive in stability – the comfort of a ‘home base’ from which we may flourish. As we grow, life becomes increasingly unstable and random: We lose the innocence of childhood at some point, and eventually take over our own guardianship, assuming the responsibility to provide for ourselves. We lose the comforting ‘home’ we once knew – we must seek out a new one for ourselves. We ask more questions, and get fewer answers.

“Home is where I wanna go. but home is just a dream, I know,” croons Rae Fitzgerald on her new single, “Lost in Ukrainian Village.” Atwood Magazine is proud to be premiering Fitzgerald’s second single off her upcoming album, Popular Songs for Wholesome Families (independent release expected 6/3/2016). A gritty, lamenting song that looks vaguel at one of the trials associated with coming into one’s own, “Lost in Ukrainian Village” builds emphatically off a dark, folk-inspired acoustic guitar line and Fitzgerald’s own raspy, evocative voice – a nod, perhaps, to the Muscle Shoals area of Alabama in which she was raised.

Listen: “Lost in Ukrainian Village” – Rae Fitzgerald

Rae Fitzgerald puts all the passion she can into her words, surrounding herself with a dark mix of indie rock and roots/folk/singer-songwriter inspired influences to share the places she’s gone and the things she’s done and what she’s seen. Whenever Fitzgerald’s voice fades, that omenous acoustic guitar and its surrounding instrumentation – the heavy drums, the fat lead – steal the center stage; but when she’s there, her voice fills the air, pushing into the red as if she’s trying to get as close as she can to us listeners.

A good doctor told me, “You look like a ghost.”
I’m not dead mama, just colder than most

Walking through Chicago, staying with a friend
Thinking about the poison of comfort with sun on my skin

Popular Songs for Wholesome Families - Rae Fitzgerald
Popular Songs for Wholesome Families – Rae Fitzgerald

Haunting, spiritual, and deeply introspective, “Lost in Ukrainian Village” reminds one a bit of the English idiom “it’s (all) Greek to me,” which expresses how something is not understandable; in the case of Fitzgerald’s song, she’s “in” America – her home country – yet in spite of this, she still feels like an alien. She wants to go home – to feel like she belongs somewhere – yet as she goes through life, she’s found less and less to identify with.

Fitzgerald knowingly addresses her privilege – “I know I’m lucky baby; I live in the USA / I drink clean water for free and throw my cup away.” To live in America was a classic dream, and no matter how much the country “goes to shit” (as so many of my peers like to say), there are still many who would rather have the privilege of growing up and living in this country. Despite how uneasy Fitzgerald feels – no matter how out of place she seems to be – she’s still got it better than most.

But that doesn’t take away from her feeling, or disallow her from feeling the way she does. “Some blues got in me, and it’s a cold stream / of pure concussion, and that water’s mean.” As she’s gone on her way through life, Fitzgerald has grown wary, cynical, or generally less enthused. Don’t we all, to a certain extent? Childhood naivety; innocence is ignorant; to come of age means to learn how to bear life’s burdens. That includes expressing them – in Fitzgerald’s case, through song.

“Lost in Ukrainian Village” fits well into not only the theme of Fitzgerald’s upcoming album Popular Songs for Wholesome Families, but also Rae Fitzgerald’s personal narrative. Raised in Alabama, Fitzgerald has called a lot of places “home” – from Bakersfield to Austin, and so on. She considers Columbia, Missouri her home, and yet “Lost in Ukrainian Village” betrays a sense of loss for her: That lost childhood comfort, that so many of us take for granted as children, in thriving in the oneness of ‘home’.

“Lost in Ukrainian Village” speaks to Fitzgerald’s entire record at face value, not-so-subtly offering a counter-narrative to the ‘traditional’, ‘classic’ family values bred out of the 1950’s post-war climate. What are “wholesome families,” anyway? What songs do they sing? Do they sing about real life – about the hardships and troubles of the world, and how individuals and groups must fight to overcome them; of how some of those battles may be lost, and others won? Or do they sing in extremes and generalities, turning a blind eye to trouble and issues, and focusing only on the good – a good that is sometimes fleeting, but always impermanent?

I sink into the valley, but I can’t get low ‘cause my baby’s floating in my veins
Walking by the river where no man swims when my baby calls me back again
She says

Home. Home is where I wanna go
But home is just a dream, you know

Is it indie rock? Is it folk? Is it ‘singer-songwriter’? Who cares? It’s Rae Fitzgerald: Bold and brash, honest and poetic, Fitzgerald molds beautiful, haunting melodies together with deep observations to create the in-your-face phenomenon that is “Lost in Ukrainian Village.” She’s a woman of the world, yet she doesn’t feel like she belongs: Has the world she thought she once knew changed, or did she just grow up?

Perhaps both are true; perhaps neither is true. Either way, Fitzgerald’s new single speaks to the individual at a deeply personal level: How do we fit ourselves into this world, and into this life? Everything is in constant flux; everything that was once stable will surely become unstable, and everything that is unstable… Let’s just say that Murphy’s Law grows all the more real as time goes on.

It feels like redemption, lying in your arms
A slap-happy machine gun mind finally disarmed

No I’m not dead mama; you can take my pulse
So give me back my black sunglasses; give me a champagne toast

“It feels like redemption, lying in your arms / A slap-happy machine gun mind finally disarmed.” Fitzgerald’s final verse is cryptic, yet divulging; powerful, yet game-changing. Life may throw hardships our way, but we persevere: We continue on. Rae Fitzgerald’s “Lost in Ukrainian Village” radiates with the sting of life’s lessons, and she responds not by giving up, but by fighting even harder to find her place and make her mark on life.

“Lost in Ukrainian Village” isn’t hopeful or happy – in fact, it’s dark and rather foreboding – but it is sincere. That sincerity glues the track together, allowing one to keep Fitzgerald’s infectious melodies on repeat. Rae Fitzgerald weaves a wise tale as one who’s grown up and lost her childlike sense of security, rightfully mourning the loss of that comfort, yet all the while trudging along and living her life to the fullest. Someone give her a champagne toast: With songs like “Lost in Ukrainian Village,” Rae Fitzgerald deserves it. - Atwood Magazine

"Exclusive Premiere: Rae Fitzgerald’s dream-folk track “Jackal ii”"

Out dream-folk/indie rock artist Rae Fitzgerald‘s new album Popular Songs for Wholesome Families comes out this summer, and after hearing the first track, we can’t wait for the rest.

“‘Jackal ii’ is a song about the loss of a close friend, the devastation I felt about his death and the things I told myself to cope,” Rae told us. “It involves a lot of self-talk and was really a meditation on how to regain control of my life in the wake of such despair. Just like the intro says, I was sitting on the floor of my ridiculously bare room when I wrote it—I found a lot of peace in minimalism at the time. I pulled out an old toy Casio keyboard from my closet that my grandpa had given me, and every word just poured out. In some ways, the song was an assessment of what exactly I needed to keep surviving, and writing it helped me voice my psychological game plan, as well as suss out a lot of emotions I had tried to suppress.”

Read more at http://www.afterellen.com/music/484297-exclusive-premiere-rae-fitzgeralds-dream-folk-track-jackal-ii#edplUbWY1O1f4Oj5.99 - AfterEllen

"Album Review: Rae Fitzgerald – ‘Popular Songs for Wholesome Families’"

Popular Songs For Wholesome Families opens with Earth, Everything, a track that is filled with ethereal production and airy vocals. The dreamy track opens with wobbling synths and delicate chimes, which steadily pick up with a soft, drum beat and distorted audio samples. Earth, Everything has a strong ghostly feeling, like you are being taken into another world through the relaxing vibrations that Fitzgerald is creating. The first single off the album comes next, with Jackal ii, which instantly has me drawing comparisons to Daughter, with the melancholic production and emotional delivery in her vocals. Her vocals are paired with poignant synths and a simple beat to create a wobbling, gloomy soundscape. Her vocals convey so much emotion, as she lyrically explores her own personal experiences in a creative, poetic way, whilst truly connecting with the listener. The album then takes an indie-rock direction, with Copper & Genesis, with more prominent guitars and progressive drums. It is still quite a slower song, with strong, powerful vocals and lyrics that are hard to depict whether they are uplifting or filled with sorrow when accompanied by the upbeat instrumentals.

The second single off the album is Lost In Ukrainian Village, which features stunning imagery of being out of our comfort zone, with the lyrics, “Home is where I wanna go/but home is just a dream, I know.” The track has a quite unsettling feel, with Fitzgerald’s husky, sultry vocals accompanied by a grungy guitar and a heavier, pounding drum, creating the darkest track off the album. Another highlight of the album is Magic Town, which opens with a simple acoustic guitar paired with soft, delicate vocals. The track is quite drawn back, with the addition of a trumpet and simple strumming, it is probably the most gentle and relaxing songs and would be perfectly paired with a nice, rainy winter’s day. Tower instantly draws comparisons to The XX, with faint vocals underneath atmospheric soundscapes and delicate electronic beat paired with swirling synths. It is the perfect example of how Fitzgerald can go from a guitar-heavy, progressive-rock sound to dreamy, electronic folk vibes.
Popular Songs For Wholesome Families is filled with stunning imagery, depicting Fitzgerald’s personal journey whilst touching on social issues and observations. She delicately combines a variety of genres to develop an album that blends together, through combining dreamy-pop, with rootsy-folk elements and progressive indie-rock to create something completely new. Her lyrics are gorgeous, painting pictures through poetic lines that have clearly been developed through years of studying creative writing and are perfectly conveyed through her emotive delivery and vocal ability. Popular Songs For Wholesome Families is filled with hidden gems and is well worth the listen from beginning to end. - Outlet Mag


Popular Songs for Wholesome Families (2016)

1. Earth, everything
2. Jackal ii
3. Copper & Genesis
4. Yr. Side of the Mtn. 
5. False Moon
6. Dark Man
7. Lost in Ukrainian Village
8. Magic Town
9. Medicine Cart
10. Tower
11. Jackal 



“Apocalyptic dreams, perfectly punctuated deliveries, complex allegories, and the occasional curse word thrown in at just the right beat, Rae Fitzgerald’s music showcases vivid imagery and adept lyricism.” - ­­Jonas Weir, Missouri Life

Urgency is a friend to Rae Fitzgerald. While much of contemporary music shies away from emotionality and embraces a cool detachment, this 27­-year-old’s intricate—and at times, eviscerating—lyric­-work forces the listener to embrace universal emotions of sorrow, hope and bewildered wonder.

Born south of St. Louis and raised in the Muscle Shoals area of Alabama, Fitzgerald has honed her craft in iconic cities of musical innovation. She’s spent extended periods of time in Bakersfield, California, and, most recently, Austin, Texas, though she considers Columbia, Missouri home. 

Lyrically heavy, the crux of Fitzgerald’s work is the autobiographical depiction of life­ changing situations, relationships and observations. This creative writing major’s words are heavy-hitting—a strength she accentuates with dreamy vocals, ethereal melodies and grooving beats.

Rae Fitzgerald’s upcoming release, Popular Songs for Wholesome Families, shifts away from the sparsely decorated acoustic instrumentation of previous albums and lands her in the thick of dream­-folk/progressive indie-rock territory.

Utilizing a broad palate of sounds, Popular Songs ranges from electronic anthems of loss to upbeat folk songs that depict a range of musings on religion, mortality, the American plight and, as the title suggests, the ties that bind. The album is purposefully littered with glimpses into her familial life, and the self­-described “fantastical historian” doesn’t shy away from the darker aspects.

Despite her tendency to capitalize on somber material, Rae Fitzgerald is master of the silver lining. Each loss is almost equally matched with a gained insight, evolved perspective or cathartic exorcism. The indomitable spirit present in her work is what gives the seasoned singer-songwriter the freedom to sing, almost as if a mantra, “sorrow is a juggernaut.” 

Popular Songs for Wholesome Families was recorded, mixed and produced by her longtime collaborator and close friend Lucas Oswald of Shearwater (formerly of Appleseed Cast, Minus Story, Hospital Ships and Old Canes). He plays a variety of instruments throughout the record, adding a distinct flair that’s become a calling card for the gifted young producer.

Band Members