Kevin R. Convey, November 7, 2008
The Sparrow and the Crow
Powerfully heart-wrenching and yet so delicate you fear a breath might blow it right out of the CD player, singer-songwriter Fitzsimmons’ chronicle of his divorce is a near- masterpiece. Recalling both the cornhusker folk-rock of early Joe Henry and the doomed intimacy of Nick Drake, “The Sparrow and the Crow” makes art and beauty out of tragedy without selling the tragedy short - as you’d expect from a licensed therapist. It’s tough stuff, marred only by repetitiveness. But that does nothing to diminish Fitzsimmons’ artistic achievement, which is huge and lasting. Download: “If You Would Come Back Home.”
The San Francisco Examiner by David Isaacson, November 9, 2008
If you are looking for some new music to chill out to, you should give William Fitzsimmons a listen. His lo-fi sound and arrangements, which bring to mind Sufjan Stevens, Iron & Wine, and Joshua Radin, are undeniably beautiful. His release a few weeks ago, The Sparrow and the Crow, is a personal reflection of his recent divorce.
Fitzsimmons’ background makes his music that much more interesting. He was born in Pittsburgh to two blind parents, and their house was “suffused with pianos, guitars, trombones, talking birds, classical records, family sing-a-longs, bedtime stories, and the bellowing of a pipe organ, which his father built into the house with his own hands.” Fitzsimmons gave up music for a while to focus on helping those with mental health issues, and over time, realized that his music was a great avenue for reaching out to people…
NASHVILLE CITY PAPER By Ron Wynn, 10/31/08
Singer/songwriter William Fitzsimmons’ new CD The Sparrow & The Crow, his third release, also represents his studio disc after two well-received self-produced efforts that have earned him extensive praise in such publications as Billboard and Performing Songwriter. Fitzsimmons, who'll be appearing Saturday at Douglas Corner Cafe (8 p.m., 2106 8th Ave., 298-1688) in a show presented by Paste magazine along with Slow Runner and Caitlin Crosby, acknowledges that operating in the studio environment was a different experience. “To be honest, it required some adjustment, especially since I've been used to being my own boss in the past,” Fitzsimmons said. “But it also helped having someone else to bounce ideas off and work songs out (it was produced by Marshall Altman at Los Angeles' Galt Studios). Before there had been no real division of labor, and now whenever I might get in a dilemma in terms of working out something, I had a person who could help.” The Sparrow & The Crow again features stirring, poignant vocals and lyrics on emotional subjects ranging from alienation and isolation to pain and loss. Fitzsimmons acknowledges that he doesn't always write the most upbeat material, but links it to a desire for honesty and integrity in his work. “I'm not the sort of person who can take outside material and craft a story,” he said. “My songs stem from real experiences and I do write a lot about difficult issues. But I also try to write the music in a way that helps people cope with problems and issues, and may be even see them in a different light, or at least feel that there are other people out there who share those feelings and problems.” Some of this no doubt stems from his background as a trained professional therapist. Fitzsimmons had actually given up music and performing for a time while pursuing his education, and he even thought for a time that he would be counseling patients the rest of his life rather than penning songs and making recordings. “In a way I guess you might say that what I'm doing now is therapeutic, at least for me,” Fitzsimmons said. “But I found that I really missed music, and that there were things I wanted to say musically.” He's played at various Nashville sites before, and Fitzsimmons says he enjoys appearing in Music City, though he also has a slight reservation. “The songwriting tradition in Nashville is so impressive that playing there can be intimidating,” Fitzsimmons concluded. “You never know when you're going to look out and suddenly see someone who just had a platinum record staring back at you.”
Charleston Post Courier:
By Matthew Godbey, October 23, 2008
In the vein of Iron & Wine and Elliot Smith comes the delicate folk/pop creations of William Fitzsimmons, the Illinois-based singer/songwriter that is turning heads with his latest effort, The Sparrow and the Crow." The album is the former mental health counselor's third independent release and reverberates with an aching yearning and, simultaneously, a slumbering surrender that quivers in the wake of Fitzsimmons' painful divorce. It's apparent that The Sparrow and the Crow" is Fitzsimmons' most honest and poignant album of his already impressive career. His simplistic, man-and-a-guitar style is easily connected to by listeners. His evocative, heart breaking songs have found their way onto such popular television series' as Grey's Anatomy, Life of Ryan and Army Wives.
THE MACON SUN 10/24/08
As one fan on his myspace page so eloquently put it, William Fitzsimmons is love at first listen. With a breathy voice that gives life to his well-crafted lyrics, Fitzsimmons wrote his latest album “The Sparrow and the Crow” as a confession and apology to his former wife. The album is their story of regret and reconciliation. Fitzsimmons own story is quite astounding: he was the youngest child of blind parents. What they lacked in visuals they made up for in audio. Between the classical music, house full of instruments and James Taylor albums, its no wonder Fitzsimmons turned out so talented. If all that weren't interesting enough, Fitzsimmons was a mental health professional before he pulled together his money and bought a home-recording equipment and started on this road.
Charleston City Paper Oct. 28, 2008
The bearded and soft-spoken Fitzsimmons’ new album The Sparrow and the Crow was released in September. It’s sensitive and eloquent singer/songwriter stuff — melancholic, drifting, slow-rolling, and understated. “I wrote it first and foremost as a confession and apology to my former wife,” he says.
'The Sparrow And The Crow', the first studio CD by indie troubadour Fitzsimmons, debuted at Number Two on the iTunes Folk Chart. This forthright album tells the true story of two people who didn't make it: William conceived 'The Sparrow And The Crow' as an apology and a confessional to his former wife…and then set those words to music. The result is a hushed and heartbreaking collection of songs that charts a path from regret to reconciliation.
Raised in Pittsburgh by two blind parents, and now based in Illinois, William grew up listening to his father's orchestral records and to his mother’s collection of James Taylor, Joni Mitchell, Bob Dylan, and Simon & Garfunkel. The influences of these seminal artists are felt throughout 'The Sparrow And The Crow'.
Fitzsimmons' story is unique: his initial home-studio albums were made while he was simultaneously finishing up a graduate program as a Mental Health professional, and it was only upon securing his Masters degree and becoming a practicing therapist that William returned to his burgeoning music career.
He is often mentioned in the context of contemporary artists including Sufjan Stevens and Iron & Wine. Paste Magazine (who is presenting William’s current tour) has lauded heavy praise on him, as have a wide variety of other press outlets. He’s also found his songs in demand in Hollywood, with tracks appearing on Grey’s Anatomy, Army Wives and more…
PASTE PRESENTS WILLIAM FITZSIMMONS & SLOW RUNNER ON TOUR:
Nov 11 Iron Horse Northampton, MA
Nov 13 Johnny D's Somerville, MA
Nov 14 Tin Angel Philadelphia, PA
Nov 15 Club Cafe Pittsburgh, PA
Nov 16 Beachland Ballroom Cleveland, OH
Nov 17 The Ark Ann Arbor, MI
Nov 19 Canal Street Tavern Dayton, OH
Nov 20 Lucas School House St. Louis, MO
Nov 21 Caf Montmartre Madison, WI
Nov 22 House of Blues – Back Porch Stage Chicago, IL
This story appears courtesy of Seth Cohen PR.
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