Fredericksburg Songwriters' Showcase Barry Fitzgerald

Barry Fitzgerald, a photographer/editor for the U.S. State Department, characterizes himself as an amateur songwriter with a day job, who finds it necessary to sing his own material, as opposed to a singer-songwriter. Not convinced that he won't someday stumble on a song that will supplement his retirement, he has offered up his songs for listeners in pubs in Ireland and clubs in Harvard Square and San Francisco, Washington, D.C., and on occasion "at home" on the Pickers Supply stage. Known primarily for his humorous songs (i.e.” Cold as Your Damn Lawyer's Heart”), Barry characterizes his efforts as "folky-country." Among his products are more serious ballads and songs addressing topical issues. In "Tomboy," tears of understanding rise as the listener realizes a subtle shift from young love with a baseball-playing girlfriend through the years until the next generation tomboy leads her soccer team to victory. In 1996 "Uncle Sam Would be Ashamed" called national public radio listeners' and newspaper readers' attention to efforts to occupy part of historic Ferry Farm in Stafford County with a Wal-Mart store. And he is probably the only songwriter whose work contributed to a Free Lance-Star reader's subscription cancellation. The unhappy reader took action after reading a feature story by Barry's wife, Ruth, recounting the fate of a rogue circus elephant, accompanied by the lyrics of Barry's ballad, "The Day They Hanged Mary the Elephant." A newspaper photography job brought midwesterners Barry and Ruth to Fredericksburg in 1968, shortly after their Peace Corps service as elementary school teachers in the Philippines. Their daughter Becca, her husband, Bert, and grandson Alex Lipscomb live in Birmingham, Alabama.

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