Brian Fitzpatrick

(Press-Kit bio for the May 2008 album, Worse For Wear)

    A Testimonial Regarding the Music of Brian Fitzpatrick:

      I met Brian Fitzpatrick back in October of 2001.  He had traveled to CT in support of a friend and fellow musician I’d come quite a distance to see myself.  I had heard of Brian months before, via a fan so convinced of his musical excellence he actually gave me (a complete stranger, mind you) both Fitzpatrick albums that had been released to date…discs that clearly evidenced an ability for songwriting.  But it wasn’t until this much later opportunity to hear him live that I fully began to grasp the depth of Brian’s talents.  Songs like “I Can’t Be Your Savior” from his 1998 debut album, Other Side and “Caroline” from its 2000 follow-up When I Bleed, took on a whole new life when witnessed in their purest communicative form – merely voice, guitar and the spirit behind the compositions permitted to touch audience members with their spontaneity and artistic truth.  And, it quickly became a given that night more such opportunities to hear Brian perform would be sought out as soon as possible.
      As it happened, the next opportunity came in December of that year, at the Bitter End in New York City.  There I gained an even greater appreciation for Brian’s music as he shared both material from his prior albums and previewed selections from his then work-in-progress State of Grace.  Also on that night, I had the chance to talk with Brian quite extensively, and to feel his excitement at having finally found a producer and sound engineer (Jerry Jones of NJ group The Fiendz and Tim Gilles of Jersey City’s Big Blue Meenie) – who had helped break through a long-held sense of frustration at being unable to effectively translate the power of his live performances into his recorded work.  During the course of this conversation Brian elaborated a bit on the studio process and expressed effusive praise for the band he’d assembled to join him in this effort.
     It was with great anticipation that I awaited a show the following month featuring this lineup – including Art Solari on drums, Jay Forsythe on bass, and (integral participant on every Fitzpatrick album) Ed Fritz on keyboard, accordion and tin whistle.  The group proved a solid and impressive unit, foreshadowing the acclaim from critics and fans alike awaiting State of Grace when it at last hit stores in March 2002.
     More than serving up predictions, however, this particular evening also offered a lesson in Brian’s musical past.  Further conversation revealed he hadn’t always worked in the introspective – and relatively solitary – musical genre through which we’d met.  Rather, during his early twenties, he’d been a member of several highly successful bands, with whom he’d toured the U.S. and abroad – in fact playing every major European festival and receiving many accolades and awards.  Realizing his heart lay in the direction of more personal sonic pursuits, however, he abruptly traded the multi-thousand-strong throngs filling fairgrounds and arenas for the more intimate audiences attending acoustic cafes, songwriting circles and open-mic nights at local pubs.  As one would expect he soon developed a local following, and built upon this to move forward in creating his own musical identity.
     Armed with an ever growing respect for Brian’s accomplishments, I continued attending shows throughout 2002, a year that saw personnel changes in the band before year’s end, not to mention the first tracks of a new album already being debuted.  By the time Further Down the Line was released in 2004, drummer Rich DeCicco had joined Brian, Jay and Ed, and the resulting album represented yet a further evolution in both Brian’s songwriting and his/the band’s recording process.  An eclectic work that blended crunching rockers, melodic mid-tempo numbers and moving ballads, I counted it a privilege to have watched this artistically mature yet instantly accessible finished product develop in live performance.  And, it wasn’t long before I became eager for whatever direction Brian’s work might take on next.
     Finally, in 2008 that wait has been rewarded – with a release like all the others in its excellence, and yet like none that’s come before.  The concise and enviably original Worse for Wear somehow manages (in the span of a mere nine songs) to take listeners into the future via a visit to the past.  Both wholly fresh and unmistakably “vintage” in its sound, the album offers insightful lyrics, intelligently artful arrangements, and strong musicianship via yet another band configuration.  Officially dubbed The Band of Brothers, this group includes perennial favorite Ed Fritz, joined here by Scott Minafri on drums/percussion, Gene Quintin on violin and Fred Machetto on bass guitar, as well as longtime Fitzpatrick collaborator Matty Z. on mandolin.  Featuring a mix of songs that run the gamut of personal experience – and which manage to combine humor, sorrow, friendship (“Carrie With The Broken Heart”), hope, “Faith” (“Jesus Is A Friend of Mine”) – through lyrics that often play on words (“My Liver’s Killing Me,” “Laughing Out Loud”), the disc represents a new direction in Brian’s musical growth, and a culmination of the development we longtime fans have witnessed over these many years.  Indeed, it’s a joy for a music lover like me to review yet another fine entry in such a worthy body of work – and it’s a joy as well to call such a talented artist as Brian Fitzpatrick –  yes, indeed…“a friend of mine.”    

                                                                                                                              Mil C. Scott