SONG PREMIERE: Ian Fisher Pursues His Muse with Twangy 70s Rock Crooner “Melody in Nashville”

It’s been more than a decade since Ian Fisher left his home state of Missouri and moved to Europe,  forever changing his life and his music. A prolific, independent songwriter who combines an international lyrical perspective and a world-traveler’s musical influences with Americana roots, Fisher has remained on the road ever since emigrating, penning over one and a half thousand songs while  also playing hundreds of concerts around Europe, North America, and Africa. 

That experience fuels Fisher’s latest album, American Standards (due out February 19th), a socially-conscious record that finds the expatriate look ing back on a country he’s left behind, remaining both skeptical about and nostalgic for a place that  is no longer his only home. Inspired by the musical diversity of albums like the Beatles’ White Album or Neil Young’s Harvest — records that, like Fisher’s, encompass everything from acoustic, stripped down songs to full-band performances — and the hooked-filled sonics of bands like Foxygen, this is Ian Fisher at his most dynamic. 

The making of the album started when Fisher shared over 300 song demos with producer René  Mühlberger (AKA Pressyes) and musicians/co-arrangers Ryan Thomas Carpenter, Andreas Laudwein, and Camillo Jenny. They then whittled that list down to their ten favorite tracks and took them to a  picturesque studio in the Austrian countryside where they created a sound that roots itself in Fisher’s sharp songwriting while still reaching far beyond the confines of the solo-artist world. This isn’t an intimate singer-songwriter record. Instead, it builds on his Rolling Stone acclaimed 2017 release, Idle Hands, and shows not only the range of Fisher’s influences, but the broad scope of his abilities. 

At times, the album reads like a cautious love letter to Nashville, whose influence looms large on  tracks like “Be Thankful” and “Winterwind.” Elsewhere, songs such as “AAA Station” and “American Standards” shine a light on some of the political and social issues that forced him to emigrate. Even though this record finds Fisher writing with class and compelling charm about the place of his birth, there is no mistaking him for a hyper-patriotic songwriter — the title “American Standards” slyly references a toilet brand, after all. 

An independent self-starter who handles his own management, Ian Fisher has remained inspired and busy over the years, touring far-flung cities in South Africa one minute and writing original music for a  handful of theater projects (including Shakespeare productions at the Residenz Theater in Munich  and Chekhov plays at the Theater in der Josefstadt in Vienna) the next. Luckily he saved some of his  best work yet for this record. An album that, like the artist himself, resonates far beyond the borders  of genres and countries.

Today Glide is excited to premiere the standout track “Melody in  Nashville,” a sadly elegant number dripping with enticing slide guitar riffs and late-night ambiance. With clear nods to icons like George Harrison and Harry Nilsson, Fish showcases his tragic yet sweet vocals as he pines for a woman dancing in a bar, which is something that doesn’t feel nearly as familiar during these locked down socially distant times. Blending the folk-rock sentimentality with imagery that would be at place in an old Ray Price song, Fisher taps into a sound that is at once moving and different. The presence of synth and twangy wah-wah guitar give the song a far out dynamic that feels reminiscent of 70s rock. 

Fisher describes the inspiration behind the song:

“Every Tuesday night in East Nashville all the pseudo-cowboy-hipsters like me belly up to the bar next to Vietnam vets at the American Legion Hall Post 82 for the weekly Honky Tonk Tuesday, where the Nudie-Suited house band, the Cowpokes, play their 50’s western standards on a stage lit by an American flag made of Christmas lights in front of dancers on a star-tiled floor and me alone with a Pabst in the corner. One night I voyeuristically slipped away into dreaming while watching this beautiful woman dancing. Later outside smoking I caught her name; Melody. A muse in music city with the name Melody was too good to pass up. So alone I took home her name and wrote a song for a stranger who I may never dance with, but at least she’ll have a song to dance to.”

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Photo credit: Andreas Jakwerth

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