About “Wild Harvest”

The question that keeps popping up while listening to the tracks of Pat Fitzgerald’s “Wild Harvest” CD is this: How does a songwriter from the proverbial middle of nowhere...Fairbanks, Alaska...so effortlessly weave stories about the wide scope of American landscape and convey those stories with music as broad as the country?

“I guess it comes down to growing up in Alaska, away from the rest of the country,” says Fitzgerald. “I could always just sit back and see it all, how these different musics interconnect into this big whole that we call American music.”

And that’s what you get on “Wild Harvest”...a little Byrds, a little Beatles, one part Dick Dale, another part Gene Vincent and all the stops in between.

And weaving in and out of the musical stew are the characters that pose unanswerable questions to themselves and the listener, uniting us all in their bond of uncertainty. Take, for instance, the people in “Big Horses Moving Fast” and “Waiting for Something to Happen,” the former who try somehow to stop time for just a moment in a life that moves by in the blink of an eye, the latter who take life blindly, waiting for some undefinable thing to save them from oblivion. Take Bill Rader in the title song, a man bent on revenge for the loss of his home to a hydroelectric dam. Take the good kid in “Born Reckless” who just can’t help but be that way and the soul in “Highway 55” who is forced to leave his Tulsa home looking for work to support his wife and child and winds up on a darker side of the road. And then there’s the “Halo Kid,” a con man who winds up the good guy because, unlike the others around him, he has a moral line.

What Fitzgerald begins in “Ghost of a Chance,” a first person narrative about picking up and going on despite life’s left hooks, he ends (both the line of thought and the CD) with “Dark Road, Gypsy Light,” a song about the hoped-for treasure at the end of the characters’ personal roads.

Add to this three “love” songs...two skewered (“Handwriting on the Wall” and “Wicked Truth”) and one straight on (“Line Drive”)...and an Alaskan song like no other, (“Calling Fairbanks Collect”) and you have exactly what the name suggests: a Wild Harvest.

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