American musicians ditching the United States to live in another country is hardly a new trend. It’s a practice that’s been happening since the birth of the commercial music industry. Harlem-born piano legend Bud Powell famously called France home for much of his life, while fellow jazz greats Dexter Gordon, Stan Getz and Ben Webster all resided in Holland at certain points in their careers. Perhaps the most famous American musical expat is Tina Turner, who continues to live in Switzerland.
Missouri son, Ian Fisher, who presently calls Austria his home, created his album, American Standards—due out February 19, against the cinematic backdrop of his current environment. But these songs are hardly material for a Von Trapp Family reunion show. American Standards is firmly rooted in the crossfire of ’70s outlaw songwriting and classic early-to-mid ’80s AOR (Album-oriented rock), just don’t call it a country record.
“This is the least country-sounding album I’ve ever made. But I can’t deny that it’s still related to that genre that I love through its lyrics and the songs’ influences,” Fisher tells American Songwriter. “The theme of Nashville plays into my political ideas and how I want to take back the meaning of country music for people like me. It doesn’t just belong to NRA members. Country music doesn’t need countries to exist. It’s bigger than that.”
“It Ain’t Me,” premiering below with American Songwriter, is a joyful, ramshackle wave of soulful rock that splits the difference between The War On Drugs and Izzy Stradlin’s underrated solo work, not the type of tune Fisher had originally set out to construct.
“One of the things that led me to Nashville was the pipe-dream of writing songs for other people,” Fisher says. “But I found out pretty quickly that I’m much too melancholy and critical to honestly write the type of pop-country song they play on the radio nowadays. I guess this track is as close as I could get. I co-wrote it with Adam James who has written for Dierks Bentley and some other bigger artists whose names I’ve heard more than their songs. We wrote it one afternoon near Music Row after eating Hot Chicken and laughing about Adam’s ‘bro-country’ parody band.”