Premiere: Watch the video for Michael Bernard Fitzgerald’s new single Our River

It’s not, but it is.

Listening to the new album from Calgary singer-songwriter Michael Bernard Fitzgerald one could imagine it being a product of this time we’re currently living in.

The 13-track Love Valley, which he’ll release in October, is a peeled-back, sparse, intimate, personal, introspective, quiet and contemplative appreciation of the small things, the small moments, the small thoughts, observations and experiences that when seen in full make being human the big deal that it is.

It’s a gorgeously atmospheric solitary whisper from an artist known for a more extroverted and inclusive pop approach.

In other words, it’s a perfectly restrained album for this temporarily confined world.

“I agree with you,” Fitzgerald says. “It’s wild to me that it is quite fitting …

“It’s wild to me that a lot of things that have come up lately that, if anything, have been affirming the choices I wanted to make around this music.”

Those choices were made over the past year and brought to life with the help of his longtime friend and producer Josh Rob Gwilliam at OCL Studios on the outskirts of the city.

At first he admits he was uncertain of the direction he wanted to take with his fifth album, having the barebones of some song ideas, odds and ends from past co-writing sessions and his own thoughts and fragments of ideas. All of it clicked, though, when the pair began working on what would eventually become the title track of the record, a wistful wishing of a simple time and place.

“That started us down this whole path of the idea that I could sing a bit softer with it and it could be arranged in a way where there was more moments instead of a whole bunch of stuff thrown on it,” Fitzgerald says.

“And we also learned at that point that it could be something where instead of all these past years of bringing in someone to think of a keyboard part or think of a synth part or something like that I could get back to just making those parts up myself again — kind of how I did back at the beginning.”

There are a handful of other sparingly used musicians on the record, and, surprisingly other voices, his touring backup singers Katie Stanton and Jessica Ritchie popping up to infrequently sing but only one line in a song. It’s a striking device, having a soft and sweet brief feminine interjection into what is otherwise a very personal and singular statement — albeit one where there is usually another one being loved, being pined for, being made love to.

“It injects this opportunity for someone to really make the story about them or make the story from their perspective,” he says. “I think it makes the stories more relatable.”

One of those stories, the simply titled And, is a remarkable snapshot of the birth of a child, the sights and sounds and feelings of anxiety, worry, joy and awe that a father has watching the woman he loves bring life into this world.

The simple yet profound idea hit him when he was in London last November, having been sent with eight other songwriters from across the country by the Association of Canadian Publishers to collaborate and write for a week with nine British musicians. In fact, he snuck out of a session and composed the tune in the hallway, it coming to him quickly and almost fully and perfectly formed,

What’s amazing is that it’s something that Fitzgerald has yet to experience — although he admits he’s always wanted a family.

And the wanting and wishing is a big part of Love Valley, Fitzgerald admitting that it was a conscious choice and direction he wanted to take the material in.

“Most of my writing in the past has been about something that I was currently experiencing or something I had experienced,” he says before pointing to his 2016 album I want to Make it With You as an exception.

“The thought behind that one was instead of painting a picture or detailing what’s going on right now, why not write about what you want to forecast if you had that power.”

He continues. “Maybe that’s a good place to write about — something you want to see versus what you see, the concept that the song is maybe a little bit prophetic,” he says

“So I went for it. I said, ‘OK, well if I was going to draw this place I want to be so bad and the feeling of it right down to the barbecue lighter, how would I do it?’ ”

The entire picture of Love Valley will be revealed Oct. 9, with Fitzgerald trickling out singles over the coming months, including the first one Our River which dropped late last week — the video for which theYYSCENE is pleased to premiere below.

The artist is looking forward to getting the album out there, having people hear it and connect with it as much as he has.

“It feels good to write these songs and it feels good to sing these songs,” he says simply.

As to how he plans on doing that, on sharing the new tunes in this world we’re currently in, well, not surprisingly it will be done as personally and intimately as the album itself.

After helping launch the Calgary Folk Music Festival’s online concert series Virtually Live on May 30, he’ll then perform concerts in a tent in his backyard for four people at a time — tickets for which can be purchased from his website.

“My thought is to go micro,” he says, “just get back to having a good time with people.”

And people, it seems, also want to get back to having a good time, with 40 of the special Summer Nights shows selling out the first day they were offered, almost crashing his site.

For tickets and more information, go to

(Photos and video courtesy Brock Davis Mitchell.)

Michael Bernard Fitzgerald will perform during the Calgary Folk Music Festival’s Virtually Live concert series on Saturday, May 30 at 7 p.m. For tickets and more information please go to