Sound: Some artists look to fantasy for inspiration, some artists live vicariously through others in their songs, and then there are those like singer/songwriter/multi-instrumentalist William Fitzsimmons who writes autobiographical pieces set to haunting folk-pop melodies while tinted in a soft country-blues palette drawing references to Alison Krauss, Iron & Wine, Sufjan Stevens, and John Mayer. His latest release, The Sparrow And The Crow on Mercer Street Records, displays Fitzsimmonsâ€™ misty vocals in a muted and mournful tone. His vocals seem to flounder in the musicâ€™s foggy hazy and porcelain-textured acoustics with a slight bounce in his gait along â€śFurther From You, â€ť which he sings alongside an angelically-hued female vocalist who harmonizes with him beautifully.
Significantly more polished than street-folk, The Sparrow And The Crow has a selection of piano-driven ballads like â€śAfter Afterallâ€ť and â€śEven Nowâ€ť which are pensively skewered, and a garland of Celtic-tinged acoustic guitar strums strewn across â€śWe Feel Aloneâ€ť and â€śJust Not Each Other.â€ť The wispy tendrils of the acoustic guitar and the light skips in the rhythmic grooves of â€śYou Still Hurt Meâ€ť move with a childlike innocence, and the soft ripples of â€śTheyâ€™ll Never Take The Good Yearsâ€ť have a storytelling versing. Fitzsimmonsâ€™ vocals are so faint that they meld right into the melodic fabric. The tenderly strummed acoustics of â€śI Donâ€™t Feel It Anymorâ€ť are reflective of Alison Kraussâ€™ hushed bluegrass country breeds, and the soft folk-pop alterations made on â€śIf You Would Come Back Homeâ€ť are jeweled in subtle lifts along the chorus parts and slimly-layered effects in the verses. The slow carousal-wheel turns of â€śFind Me To Forgiveâ€ť have a fairytale aura, and the flouncy rhythmic beats and lounging acoustics of â€śGood Morningâ€ť produce serene landscapes and sprigs of renewed hope. // 7
Lyrics and Singing: His lyrics describe the true story of his divorce, telling the tale of two people who didnâ€™t make it. Fitzsimmons unabashed admit's that The Sparrow And The Crow was conceived as an apology and a confessional to his former wife, setting his words to music. The result is a collection of songs that chart a path from regret to reconciliation in the verses for â€śFind Me To Forgiveâ€ť as he reflects, â€śI havenâ€™t seen you for over a year / I heard you were married and the baby you carried isnâ€™t mine / I donâ€™t suppose that youâ€™ll still have my name / Youâ€™ll have another because youâ€™re not my lover anymore / Will you look the same when I meet you up there? / Remember my name, please / Will you look the same when I meet you up there? / Remember my name / Find me to forgive.â€ť The lyrics fall into a recurring theme which addresses how someone separates oneself from a loved one. Fitzsimmons answers that question in â€śFurther From Youâ€ť with the response that it's done by withdrawing slowly, â€śIâ€™m dead to you / You say we are friends / But what is a friend, when there is a man / Who sleeps in your bed too / Everythingâ€™s closer to the end / But Iâ€™ll get farther from you / Everythingâ€™s closer / Itâ€™s the end / But Iâ€™ll get further from you.â€ť // 8
Impression: Produced by Marshall Altman at Galt Line Studios in Los Angeles, The Sparrow And The Crow is Fitzsimmonsâ€™ first studio recorded album following his two self-recorded and self-released records, Until When We Are Ghosts in 2005 and Goodnight in 2008. His lyrics deal with going through a heartbreak and mourning a lose of a lover, and somehow he concludes the album with the hopeful â€śGood Morning.â€ť Of course circling around the same theme causes the tracks to end up sounding repetitive, but the album is so honest that the repetition does not affect the listener in a negative way. A handful of Fitzsimmons songs have appeared on such TV shows as "Grey's Anatomy" and "Army Wives." His songs have an attractive country-folk pattern that makes for a perfect fitting with the storylines of TV shows, enabling to carry the scenes along and expressing real-life emotions in practical terms. // 7