William Fitzsimmons - The Sparrow And The Crow
The Sparrow And The Crow is a very pretty album. Recorded by Illinois-based psychotherapist William Fitzsimmons, the album is the follow up - or second chapter - to his second album Goodnight (2005). As with the predecessor, The Sparrow And The Crow focuses on break ups, more specifically the break up of Fitzsimmons marriage. The songs are all deeply personal, well-sung, well played….and pretty boring.
The album starts off with ‘After Afterall’, ‘Afterall’ being the closing track of Goodnight, an album chronicling the painful divorce of Fitzsimmons’ parents. Subdued piano chords opens the song with Fitzsimmons’ breathy vocals following right behind; ‘I still love you/ I still want you / I still need you / after all / for better or worse / sickness and health…’
What follows are 11 other songs in pretty much the same key, same style, same tempo, and all about pretty much the exact same thing.
‘I Don’t Feel It Anymore (Song Of The Sparrow)’, augmented with female vocalist, plays like a conversation between two former lovers both too sad and too hurt to fight anymore; ‘hold on this will hurt more than anything has before’ he sings. ‘I've worked for so long just to see you mess around / what you've done… / I want back the years that you took when I was young’ she answers back. The song is painfully confessional and the sad brooding vocals add to its quietly bitter tone.
‘We Feel Alone’ returns to the theme of Ftizsimmons’ parents’ divorce and eventually his own; ‘Mom and dad parted ways / they were young and got complacent.’ ‘Please Forgive Me (Song Of The Crow’) is Ftizsimmons’ coming clean over his part of the break up. The lyrics, as with the other songs, are brutally frank; ‘you swept me off my feet / you gave your heart to me alone / I left you out at sea.’
The next few songs, from ‘Further From You’ on down to ‘Find Me To Forgive’ and ‘Goodmorning’ continue in the exact same vein - tinkly guitar and piano accompanying Fitzsimmons’ soporific voice.
Already gaining a devoted following in the States, due in large part to his songs being featured on such shows as Grey’s Anatomy and One Three Hill, Fitzsimmons’ music is mellow easy listening perfect for prime time where the cool laid back vocals and even keel melodies won’t interfere with your viewing pleasure. Though some compare his style to that of Bon Ivar’s Jason Vernon and Iron and Wine’s Samuel Beam, Fitzsimmons’ pretty but vacant tunes lack the originality and dark beauty that those two top notch song writers’ possess. His style is more akin to Jack Johnson, or the female equivalent Nora Jones. One track segueing so seamlessly into the other that it is hard to distinguish one from the other. The Sparrow And The Crow is quietly pleasing, inoffensive and mildly entertaining. But that’s about it.