Fitzmaurice is a talented young band from Maryland fronted by twin sisters Maria and Sarah Fitzmaurice. They have been performing regionally for the past 3 1/2 years, and have just released a debut, self-titled CD.
Their sound – and their original songs – are decidedly modern, as you might expect from a group of twenty-something musicians. 9 of the 12 tracks were written within the band, showcasing the singing of both Maria and Sarah, and mandolinist Brandon Snellings who is featured on one track. Maria plays guitar and Sarah bass, with Aaron Malone on fiddle and Mike Simms on banjo.
These are all very capable players and singers, but having such strong new material really sets this group apart. The songs are thoughtful, and many of them express the themes of love, disappointment, and introspection that occupy the minds of young folks just getting started with their adult lives.
The album opens with 25 Years, a bit of a twist on the prisoner’s song format we see so often in folk music. Malone shared a few words about the track, which Maria sings.
“I co-wrote 25 Years with my best friend, Stone Aielli, who is an incredible songwriter that I have had the privilege of working with on various projects for the past 6 years. When drafting the story line for the song, we talked about how going off to prison is such a common theme in bluegrass music and decided that we would come at it from the opposite side…getting out of prison! So this song is dealing with the fears and excitement that we imagine one would have when being released after serving a 25 year sentence.”
25 Years: [http://traffic.libsyn.com/thegrasscast/25years.mp3]
Maria tells us a bit about another track – which she wrote, and her sister sings – showing the band stretching a bit beyond the bluegrass format.
“We chose to put Sip On The Memories on the CD for a number of reasons…It gave Sarah a chance to showcase her vocals and it had a feel to it that none of the other songs on the album had. After bringing it to the band and working up the arrangement and vocals, we knew immediately that this song had to have piano on it and by doing that, it naturally sat apart from the other songs on the CD.”
Sip On The Memories: [http://traffic.libsyn.com/thegrasscast/sip_on_memories.mp3]
Maria also wrote the song that Brandon Snellings sings, Barely A Man.
“I wrote Barely A Man after watching Forest Gump for the millionth time – which is actually the truth! 🙂 – and it’s also the first song I wrote from a male point of view. When writing it, I didn’t really have a set story in mind or anything like that, but more of an emotion; a sadness…putting myself in a eighteen year old, soldier’s shoes… something I knew absolutely nothing about but was able to pull from other people’s experiences.”
Barely A Man: [http://traffic.libsyn.com/thegrasscast/barely_a_man.mp3]