Patrick Fitzsimmons’ latest full album “Hope Is” is a curious blend of middle of the road acoustic based folk rock with some Celtic flair thrown in for good measure.
Opening with “Here For You” which is a radio single in waiting, this is the boldest the album is from the beginning. It’s simple guitar riffs saddle onto the folksy almost country tinged vocals. Country bears through further with some Spaghetti Western guitars and draw organs on “Mountaintops” while Patrick gets more funky with spinning electric guitar wah-wahs in “If You Want Me”. “Little Rose” is the first ballad on the album with more delicate delivery and coupled with some soft female backing vocals and strings this pushes through on your emotions a bit more than the previous tracks.
“I Found You” then returns to the country rock roots the album is embedded in with some rousing choruses and anthemic moments. “Beautiful You and Me” is a short uke/vocal track where Patrick sings in a higher register which suits him very well. “Sara” is one of the three stand out tracks for me with a heavy sway to a Celtic Waltz. All the violins really push the track forward and the vocals are filtered in a certain way that makes Patrick sound more on edge and rockier than the rest of the album. “The Waltz” is a short electric guitar / vocal track with minimal organ that passes through as a sweet ditty before “Justine” brings out the rumbling drums and guitars for a real push for a huge finale with the violins back, a big set of oooh’s for the outro sequence and everything just feels like it comes together. The album ends on title track “Hope Is” which is wistful and whimsy and very spacious. It doesn’t hurry itself and is utterly beautiful.
“Hope Is” is quite a short album with most songs only just spilling over three minutes and a couple falling below. As a result some of the tracks don’t jump out as much and require repeated listens to really sink into. I generally struggle with country tinged music – it’s really not my genre but when Patrick stays away to the more Celtic roots things really do come alive for me. Country Pop Rock fans unite – you have a new name to follow!