Four out of every five shows singer-songwriter Adam Fitz played this year centered around cover sets in Westmoreland County bars and juke joints. Coming up as a musician in Chicago, he sneered at such gigs. Not so in 2019.
“The songs that came out of me this year, those songs came out easier because I had learned four hours of other people’s material,” said Fitz, of Greensburg. “It was the key to more prolific songwriting. It was a vocabulary.”
Fitz will kick off 2020 by celebrating that new material. He’ll self-release a single, “Can’t Pardon Me,” online Jan. 1, right after playing two acoustic First Night sets at Heinz Hall, Downtown, on New Year’s Eve. (The sets run from 7 – 7:30 p.m. and 9:30 – 10 p.m. on the WYEP stage.)
Fitz, who teaches third-graders at a Greensburg-area Catholic school by day, recorded the single – the “B side” is “Long Time Losing You” – at Schoolhouse Studios. The irony is not lost on him.
“I love that studio for the space and it sounds great,” Fitz said. “And, yeah, it’s a cool story, ‘School teacher records record in schoolhouse.’”
Fitz penned the folksy soul piece “Can’t Pardon Me” when a collaborator, Eddie Dixon, sent him some titles around which to write songs. (Another was called “Don’t Be A Jerk to Mama.”) Fitz felt a piece ruminating on regret, redemption and hope seemed eerily appropriate to baptize 2020.
“The harshest critic is yourself and the last person who forgives you is yourself,” he said.
But, no, Fitz has no regrets about continuing to play those bar gigs, even if the setlist isn’t heavy on his own material.
“I would love for a song I wrote to be sung in bars after I’m dead,” he laughed. “John Denver should be happy.”
You can find the new single Jan. 1 at www.adamfitz.bandcamp.com. – Justin Vellucci, Pittsburgh Current, Dec. 30, 2019