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Local singer-songwriter Rae Fitzgerald waits for a show to begin at Mojo's on Thursday night. Her new album, Of War and Water, launches next Wednesday.

Tate Chitwood/Staff Photographer

Folk musician plants her roots, finds perspective

Folk artist Rae Fitzgerald will debut her album Of Wars and Waters on Wednesday at Mojo's.

By Emily Adams | April 8, 2011

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When you ventured into Shakespeare’s Pizza last weekend for a traditional Columbia favorite, you probably did not realize the girl behind the counter is Rae Fitzgerald, the artist that is successfully sweeping the Columbia music scene.

With her thought-provoking, often heart-wrenching lyrics and classic, smooth folk melodies, Fitzgerald recently moved to Columbia to plant her musical roots in a town overflowing with artistic potential.

Music was not an initial passion for Fitzgerald, but a love that grew out of circumstance from an early age. She became devoted to lyrical expression immediately after she wrote her first song, and her sights shifted from college to dedication to her art.

Fitzgerald distinguishes herself from contemporary indie bands with her influences, which are embedded in classic singer-songwriter folk music, such as Bob Dylan and Gillian Welch. This is opposed to the typical tunes and musical formulas that seem to be set on repeat for most modern bands. The sounds illustrated in Fitzgerald’s song-craft conjure up the writing and melodic styles of artists such as Lori McKenna and Patty Griffin.

“My music doesn’t sound like 2011 music,” Fitzgerald said. “I haven’t really jumped on the bandwagon of new Indie bands and sounding exactly like them. I’m kind of stuck in my ways as to what I like.”

Fitzgerald desires nothing more than to offer her audience a new perspective, a perspective she hopes will present new ideas to the world. The outlooks taken from music, like all art forms, remain throughout history as a vital facet of society.

“Your ideas and experiences can’t be heard if you never tell them,” Fitzgerald said. “It’s your responsibility to speak up. Musicians reflect what society is feeling. That’s why it’s crucial.”

The majority of the emotion in Fitzgerald’s songs lies in her lyrics, coupled with relaxed instrumental measures. To her, music instigates the thoughts and sentiments society develops.

“I just want people to think,” Fitzgerald said. “I’m not pushing any kind of ideal. I just want people to think of a life that they don’t live and have a different kind of perspective to look at.”

Fitzgerald will be holding her album debut Wednesday at Mojo’s. The album reflects Fitzgerald’s own point of view, stemming from the Midwestern setting of her life.

“My new album, Of War and Waters, is pretty indicative of my current state and this time in my life,” Fitzgerald said. “I think lyrics are like a special history of how that person saw the world. This is what I thought of the world at this time.”

Fitzgerald’s songs range from intimate moments to the social and political ideologies enveloping the chaos we are immersed in today.

“People strive to gain a similar perspective from music,” Fitzgerald said. “I want people to relate to my lyrics.”

The ambition driving Fitzgerald's career can be summed up in one statement that reflects her genuine love for her art.

“I just want to be able to do this, the thing I love, as long as I can,” Fitzgerald said.

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