William Fitzsimmons – The Sparrow and The Crow

William Fitzsimmons - The Sparrow and The Crow

William Fitzsimmons - The Sparrow and The Crow

The Sparrow and The Crow is not merely a collection of songs, but rather an attempt at healing a broken heart and an apology for one that was broke.  It is a true story of two people who didn’t make it together.  Throughout the album there is a feeling of push and pull within William Fitzsimmons as he works through his sorrows, rehashes scenes of the past, tries to see the sense in it all and then finds it within himself to forgive and ask the same.

Opening the album with sad piano chords and setting the scene, “After Afterall” takes traditional wedding vows like “Till death to us part” and turns them around like a sad joke.  Fitzsimmons’ soft, breathy vocals ooze with sadness.  When I listen to his words, I hear the pain in his voice and I can’t help but feel for him.  But he’s hardly the good guy here.

“I Don’t Feel It Anymore (Song of the Sparrow)” follows with a painfully lovely duet between Fitzsimmons and the angelic voice of Priscilla Ahn.  The song seems to give his ex-wife a voice, the voice of the sparrow, saying “I’ve worked for so long just to see you mess around / what you’ve done / I want back the years you took when I was young / but it’s done.”  The layers of the acoustic guitar swirl around the perfectly matched vocals, enveloping them in their sadness and regret, pierced only by the light notes of a banjo. 

The tempo isn’t always brimming over with sadness and even manages to find a lighter side at times, even if the lyrics themselves still seem weighted.  “We Feel Alone” maintains a lighter feel musically despite feelings of abandonment.  “If You Would Come Back Home” rides along on catchy piano and incorporates beautiful harmonies and an uplifting chorus filled with optimism although at the same time it feels like he’s trying to deny the severity of the situation in his desperate plea saying, “There’s food still in the pantry / I could fix you lunch / or take you out for coffee.”  In “You Still Hurt Me” there is a light beat that gently bounces along with a banjo and the happy “buh duh dum’s” keep the song out of the range of depression.

In the lyrics written in the CD jacket for “Further From You” the last line is “I was wrong”, which he doesn’t actually sing in the song.  It is also in red while all other text on the page is in white.  This message was meant for her.  The only text that appears in red in the entire package is on the disc itself which displays “The Crow” in red.  He apparently sees himself in a less than pleasant light whereas her character displays a bit lighter connotation.  The song itself pulls at the heart strings as Fitzsimmons’ vocals once again melt beautifully with that of Priscilla Ahn. The pensive fingerpicking and light piano plunking lift up the lyrics and the song reaches near optimistic heights about the future and is even a little catchy.

Fitzimmons seems to get closer to moving on in “Just Not Each Other” where he sings of losing his way and “his treasure” but that despite everything they both seem to have gone from a young age he finally realizes that they “will love again / just not each other.” 

The penultimate track, “Find Me To Forgive” was actually conceived as a confession to his ex-wife and seems to act as the final step before officially moving on from all the regret and waking up to a new life.  This transitions perfectly into the closer.  The album wraps up with “Good Morning”, a song that has a distinctively different tone from the rest of the album. The light jangle of the acoustic guitar and the sweeping layers of female backing vocals create a lush soundscape that is nothing but hopeful.  The words are few but it seems he has made it through and found the sun shining again.

In the world of art and music, pain and tragedy can often translate to beauty and in the case of William Fitzsimmons, The Sparrow and The Crow is truly a thing of beauty.  

William Fitzsimmons