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Beards like that should disqualify you from being sad

Smiths tribute albums are nothing new, and it’s no surprise. You’d be hard pressed to find an “indie” artist out there who wouldn’t list them as an influence. But let’s be honest, most covers of The Smiths are plain garbage. Morrissey has a voice no one could ever mimic, and most attempts to recreate their magic fall flat. And yeah, I’m looking at you too, Zooey Deschanel.

Folk artist William Fitzsimmons throws his hat in the ring on the latest tribute album to hit stores, and hits a home run with his cover of “Please Please Please Let Me Get What I Want.” Notes from the song translate beautifully on the banjo, carried along with Fitzsimmons’ warm voice and punctuated with majestic hums of what could possibly be angels.

While this song is usually quoted as the whiniest of all Smiths tracks, Fitzsimmons manages to give it a more earnest feel. Wistfulness without the ‘woe is me.’

William Fitzsimmons – “Please Please Please Let Me Get What I Want”


Amy Winehouse (1983-2011)

There isn’t much to say about Amy Winehouse that hasn’t already been said. She was a magnificent talent with an incredible voice that launched a renewal of interest in classic R&B and soul, her short career marred by addiction and personal troubles. Though Amy Winehouse passed away just this weekend, we had already lost this brilliant woman some time ago. She joins the so-called “27 Club” having given only a fraction of the potential she had to offer to the music world.

As my personal statement to this tragedy, I would encourage anyone to try to understand the factors at work here and not put too much blame on her for what had happened. Despite the insensitive “rehab” jokes that many seem quick to offer, Winehouse sought treatment at rehabilitation clinics several times – though ultimately succumbing to her addictions. Drug addiction is a disease, not a choice, that claims many people every year.

May she rest in peace, wherever she is, and be able to leave the demons that she never could escape. For us here on Earth, we can honor her memory by keeping the music alive and giving more attention to a widespread, but often neglected, disease.