Review of William Fitzsimmons album The Sparrow And The Crow
On the overcrowded stage of acoustic singer-songwriters, it's standing out from the crowd which is half the battle. This isn't a problem for William Fitzsimmons, whose bio proclaims him to be 'the oddest man you will ever meet.' He looks like an unfashionable lumberjack and was nearly a mental health counsellor instead of a musician. Raised by blind parents in Pittsburg, his says his household was 'filled with a myriad of sounds to replace what the eyes could not see... suffused with pianos, trombones, talking birds, classical records... [and a homemade] pipe organ.' So far, so interesting.
You would hope that this wealth of personal experience and rich musical tapestry would translate into onto The Sparrow and the Crow, but instead Fitzsimmons' sound is sparse and minimal, just his guitar and subdued singing voice. There are heavy overtones of Iron and Wine at play on The Sparrow and The Crow, and whilst there's plenty to admire: the lovely guitar arpeggios that punctuate songs like 'I Don't Feel It Anymore', the gentle harmonies, there's something amiss.
It's obviously Fitzsimmmons wears his heart on his sleeve, but his music maybe suffers in a few places from a lack of imagination. Opener 'After Afterall' begins with its plaintive plea 'please don't leave me' seems to have left its spine at the door. It may be due to his voice, which comes over as deliberately restrained. It's nice but after a few songs, you are just begging for him to let rip and give over any emotion other than bewildered rejection.