I am typically rather shy about sharing tribute and cover albums with you.. If I do so, they have to come with a special touch, story or excellence. Covers Vol. II is already the second cover album by US-American artist William Fitzsimmons. I just loved the very personal style when I scanned this 11th August 2023 release. Enjoy my review.
William Fitzsimmons – About The Artist
William FItzsimmons was born in 1978 in Pittsburgh. Both of his parents were blind, but were hobby musicians. Fitzsimmons is a multi-instrumentalist, he is able to play the organ, banjo, mandolin and other instruments. In 2005, he released his debut album Until When We Are Ghosts. His third album, The Sparrow and the Crow (2008) got some rewards, including being the US Best Singer-Songwriter Album 2008 on iTunes. Based in Nashville nowadays, he is also having quite some popularity abroad,especially in Europe.
William Fitzsimmons – Covers Vol. II – Track by Track
The eleven track album lasts 40 minutes.
1. A Little Bit Yours
The first song of this album has originally been released in 2021 by JP Saxe. William Fitzsimmons already sets a certain direction for his 2023 album in here. The song is becoming a very intimate and personal style. You won’t find wide arrangements in Covers Vol. II – a bit of piano, slightly strumming guitars and very decent backing vocals is all needed to spread some magic. His version is reaching a climax in the middle and then turning back to this very basic and lovely sound.
2. Fire And Rain
The second track of the album heads back for a couple of decades. James Taylor wrote and performed this song, which has initially been released in 1970. Fitzsimmons keeps the simple, handmade style of his version. Strings one part of the instrumental section of Fire And Rain as well.
3. King Of Wishful Thinking
What a rhythmic, energetic King Of Wishful Thinking has been when Go West released the song in 1990. 33 years later, Fitzsimmons makes the song feel like a gentle, fairy tale-alike ballad. He is just whispering the lyrics into the microphone. And it works as well. A lovely transformation.
4. In Your Eyes
In Your Eyes is a Peter Gabriel classic. With intense piano play and quite some background instrumentation, this version has some dramatic elements. But again, Fitzsimmons turns the track into a very different atmosphere. It feels like a new song. That’s finally the reason why listening to this cover album is worth it.
The fifth song is a rather modern original again. Jeremy Zucker released Scared in 2022. If he would have believed that his song works out in that way as well? The second part of this version comes with some electric guitars and drum computer elements.
6. Tell Her This
Del Amitri released this song in 1995, written by Justin Currie. This piano ballad-alike recording again leads to a gentle, dream-ish touch. Beautiful one.
7. Hold Me
One of the key strengths of this album is also the selection of songs. Fitzsimmons is not only going for really big, global hits. He is wisely choosing tracks, which perfectly feel to suit into the concept of the album. Like Hold Me, which lead to North American Top 10 placements for Fleetwood Mac in 1982, but is definitely not their biggest one.
8. Streets Of Philadelphia
One of the most prominent selections by William Fitzsimmons is definitely Bruce Springsteen’s Streets of Philadelphia. The original is already very atmospheric, very intense – but I feel that this 2023 version is even boosting the intensity. Nonetheless, his arrangement is closer to the original than in many other songs of this album.
Billy Joel’s Vienna did not make it more prominent than being the B-side of the She’s Always a Woman single release. Fitzsimmons is giving the lovely 1977 release a new touch. Vienna deserves that additional spotlight.
10. Sleeper 1972
When my dad diedThe worms ate out both his eyes His soul flew right up in the sky I cried myself to sleep
Despite the song title, this one is a comparably new song, being released by the Manchester Orchestra in 2006. I did not know the original before. But again, I feel that the song has definitely deserved this indie-folk facelift. The 2023 version has a lovely dramturgy.
11. Weird Fishes
The song is originally named Weird Fishes/Arpeggi and has been released by Radiohead. Again, Fitzsimmons is fascinating me that this track is working so well in his arrangement. I love it – and I close the album with a smile.
William Fitzsimmons – Covers Vol. II – Spotify
Here is Covers Vol. II on Spotify:
William Fitzsimmons – Covers Vol. II – My View
Doing a cover song is easy. Doing great cover songs and adding a personal touch to them is an extremely difficult task. The songs of Covers Vol. II have a certain monotony and uniform style – that’s, however, also one of the features of the album. The good thing: if you like the opener, you likely like the whole album. I do.
Favorite Song: King of Wishful Thinking
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