Fisher, a singer-songwriter from Missouri now living in Berlin, returned to his hometown for a short time to see his family and play a few gigs at venues like Picasso's Coffee House. While home he also helped build a cabin with his father on the land his family owns in Ste. Genevieve.
His new album, "Anchor & Ship," features philosophical folk songs. "What is a ship without an anchor?" Fisher asks. "A piece of driftwood splashing aimlessly towards or away from shores? What is an anchor without a ship? A piece of iron collecting clams in shallow water? Is it the relationship between those two objects that produces meaning or do they possess meaning inherently?"
Fisher is following in a long tradition of American artists, especially the so-called "Lost Generation" or the Beatniks, who emigrated to Europe to find new perspectives and muses. He does not consider himself an expatriate though, just someone following his dreams and intuition. The songs that have resulted from his time abroad have become increasingly introspective, without the sharp political critiques present in his early work. Fisher says that the political nature of his songs like "Cowboys and Indians" was mostly a result of his "externalizing the aspects of himself that he was upset with." The songwriter has taken the time to do just a little more thinking; in this new album he is asking existential questions that get at the root cause of his and many others' anger, frustration and disillusionment.
Fisher says that his primary criterion for composing a great song is that the listeners have to "be able to believe it." "Anchor & Ship" is filled with songs that have mellow and often melancholy arrangements and wonderfully unified imagery of sea-going vessels and the turbulent sea they navigate. Fisher's voice is clear, dynamic and nuanced. Ultimately, there is a sense that he is, in both his life and work, seeking out the nuggets of truth in the human condition and hoping to translate them into songs that engage his audience.
He will now return to tour in Europe with his new songs, hoping to connect with people through their everyday experience of searching for truth and for someone to share in the discovery.
Video: Jarred Gastreich
Sound capture: Josh Rawls
Writer and interviewer: Bill Teller