January 23, 2021

Gospelish – By C J Fitz – An Internet Monk Review

The past couple of weeks I have been hanging out musically at the intersection of country and folk. It is not a place I have been known to frequent, but the artistry of C J Fritz is persuading me that this might be a part of town that I want to visit more often.

So who is C J Fritz, and what is Gospelish?

C J is none other than the frequent and insightful Internet Monk commenter known to us a ChrisS. I think he has been hanging out here about as long as I have. Gospelish is his second album due to be released next month.

Let me start off by saying that I was blown away when I heard these tracks. While listening to these songs, I put on a pair of giant headphones to shut out any external distractions and drifted off into musical bliss.

Anyone who knows me, knows what a huge fan of Bruce Cockburn I am, and intentionally or not, Chris hooked me with a Bruce Cockburn cover, “Child of the Wind”. I absolutely love Chris’ version of this song. I must confess I have probably listened to this song 50 times in the past two weeks and would be perfectly content listening to it another 50 times.

Chris would want you to know that these tracks are not the final mixed and polished versions. I would never have guessed that. Listen for yourself and you will understand what I mean.

Child of the Wind
(Upon further reflection Audio track has been removed as permission has not yet been given.)

Chris’ mastery of the guitar is showcased in this next song, “Without a Shield.” His folk style in the song’s intro reminded me of another Cockburn song, the wonderful “Water Into Wine“.

But “Without a Shield” is not an instrumental. Its accompanying lyrics are deep, meaningful, and powerful.

Without a Shield

Nailed onto a beam
Atop a barren hill
A foul and vile scene
A strange mysterious will
Flesh and blood
An awful grace
Rend the veil
Reveal his face
Mary’s son
Without a shield

The Lamb of God
Without a Shield

Here’s where we begin
If we dare step in
Here’s how we forgive
And are forgiven
Waves and waves
Of time and space
Erode the scales
We’re face to face
The Lord our God
Without a shield

The guitar, lyrics, melody, and Chris’ rich voice combine into what I consider to be a musical masterpiece. Have a listen.

Without a Shield

If you lean towards the Country end of the musical spectrum. This next song will give you a taste of some of Chris’ more “Countryish” stylings. A simpler song, and a great song of worship as well.

I will give
Like you give to me.
I will forgive
Like you forgive.
I will see
Like you see me.
I will love like you do.
I will love like you do.

Like you

It has been both a pleasure and a privilege to be able to listen to all the tracks that Chris sent me. I know that I will be purchasing the album when it is released. Chris has kindly provided us with his email. If you would like to be contacted when the album is available, please send him an email now. I am hoping that many of you are as impressed as I am, and would love to support and encourage Chris in his musical career. He can be reached at: cjfitz444@gmail.com

And of course, be sure to send your encouragements along in the comments as well.

On a final note: It is interesting how many of us have interacted on Internet Monk for years, and really have no idea what each other look like or sound like. I had imagined Chris as a guy in his 20s or 30s with an upstate New York kind of accent. Wrong on both counts there! As I knew that Internet Monk is drawing to a close, I also knew that I wanted to get the information about this album out to you while I still had the chance. That is why I have posted the unfinished tracks. I am hoping that I will be able to continue this interaction that I have had with Chris and others of our readers into the future in whatever form that might take. I will be looking to flesh some of that out in the coming weeks.

As usual your thoughts and comments are welcome!

Comments

  1. “Like You” made me think of Cash and Waylon Jennings.

    Very good Chris!

  2. My picture at the top right corner of my comments is how I looked about 13 yrs ago at my oldest daughter’s wedding. Alison only looks better in the present, whilst I have lost a significant amount of my school girl charm.

  3. senecagriggs says

    Loved the two tracks I heard. Sweet

  4. Chris, I assume you live in the US, but what part?

  5. I’m assuming by looking at the picture Mike Bell posted on this piece, that “Chris” live in the Susquehanna river basin. That’s a huge area, but as a culture it is somewhat uniform.

  6. senecagriggs says

    What you think I look like
    https://tinyurl.com/y5zdbujo

    What I actually look like
    https://tinyurl.com/y5luogl3

  7. Great job, ChrisS aka C J. You do a great job fulfilling the Holy Trinity in music: lyrics, melody and musicianship. I can’t wait for the final product!

  8. I do lyrics and rhythm guitar. I throw in a little bit of acoustic lead but I’m not a lead player. Just to clarify : a fellow named Wes Lunsford (The Young Fables) plays lead on Without a Shield. He’s in Nashville. I sent him the song and the only instruction I gave him was that I wanted a David Gilmour comfortably numb sort of sound. That was it. So that guitar is all Wes. CJ Fitz Is a stage name I came up with based on my first two initials and the start of my grandmother’s maiden name Fitzgerald. I thought it had a certain flare.

  9. Mike Bell,
    Thank you so much for your kind words. I very much appreciate your putting this out here. I did want everyone at a Imonk to be aware of it and I hope it will be good album. One re-clarification, you’re right I did do the acoustic work on Without a Shield. I just wanted to make sure that Wes got credit for the electric guitar as that is in my mind a significant element of that song. His partner Laurel does harmonies on it and she does harmony work on other songs on the album. Thanks again Mike.

    • I suppose one other clarification should be made as we have just been emailing about doing another Bruce Cockburn song. This is so preliminary that I have not gone through the process of receiving permission to do his song. I don’t imagine we would run into any legal issues here but all of that will be done. I will not put anything on the album that I do not have permission for.

  10. Well done, Chris!

    Dana

  11. I like these songs. Strong melodies, good arrangements, thoughtful and penetrating lyrics, and a compelling voice putting it all across. Good work, ChrisS.

  12. From a fellow musician; very well done ChrisS! I loved both tracks and am looking forward to purchasing the album upon release. Good stuff!

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