The lyri­cist and the mu­si­cian

Life­long friends col­lab­o­rate on pro­ject

The Compass - - EDITORIAL OPINION - BY BUR­TON K. JANES

It’s a part­ner­ship formed in mu­si­cal heaven. Al­bert (Tom) Christo­pher writes the lyrics. David Fitz­patrick writes the mu­sic, then records, en­gi­neers, ar­ranges, pro­duces and mas­ters their al­bums. Fitz­patrick also plays and sings.

In what must be some kind of a record, this dy­namic duo re­leased three CDs of 38 songs in 2010. And that’s only the be­gin­ning of what they want to do.

Fitz­patrick and Christo­pher are life­long friends, and both moved to Toronto at a young age. Fitz­patrick even­tu­ally ended up pur­su­ing a mu­si­cal ca­reer in Cal­i­for­nia, but never quite got his foot in the door.

He did find a “ beau­ti­ful lady and ended up hav­ing a good fam­ily out of it.”

Christo­pher worked many dif­fer­ent jobs, but their paths even­tu­ally took them back to New­found­land, and they now live in the Bay Roberts area.

Dream come true

Fitz­patrick has been record­ing mu­sic since he was 10. Over the last decade or so, he and his brother, Greg, re­leased two al­bums. In ad­di­tion, Dave has pro­duced 60-70 al­bums and played on over 100, in­clud­ing three with the Fables, a well-known New­found­land Celtic rock band.

Fitz­patrick has his own record­ing stu­dio to­day, and is in the busi­ness mak­ing a mu­si­cian’s dreams come true. Christo­pher is one of those.

“ Writ­ing songs and hav­ing them recorded has al­ways been a dream of mine,” Christo­pher says.

How­ever, Christo­pher doesn’t sing, and de­scribes mu­sic as a “ for­eign lan­guage.” So it helps that Fitz­patrick is such a tal­ented per­former.

The part­ner­ship works very well, they both agree.

Pro­lific writer

Fitz­patrick wrote the mu­sic for all 12 songs on their first al­bum, in­clud­ingLove is Real,I Said I Do,Sammy’s Son­gandRed, White and You. He also did the vo­cals, as well as played all the in­stru­ments, in­clud­ing drums, bass, key­boards, gui­tar, mandolin and banjo.

Four months later, a Christ­mas al­bum ap­peared, fea­tur­ing Christo­pher’s orig­i­nal songs and Fitz­patrick’s mu­sic, in­clud­ingSanta Al­most Missed Our Tow­nandChrist­mas in July.

Then, be­fore the year was out, a third al­bum hit the shelves. It in­cludes such songs as­Make a Visit (to Mad Rock),Mil­i­tary Wife­andShat­tered Dreams.

Christo­pher re­al­izes that with­out his friend’s sup­port, his lyrics “ would just be pa­pers in a folder in a bed­room closet.” Fitz­patrick adds: “I’m floored when I lis­ten to his lyrics.”

With such high praise, it’s lit­tle won­der the lyrics con­tinue to flow for Christo­pher. And as for the mu­sic, Fitz­patrick said he’s com­pil­ing the tune in his head as he reads the lyrics.

It’s al­most like the mu­si­cian can read the lyri­cist’s mind. The styles range from rock to coun­try.

“ We can do any kind of genre to chal­lenge our­selves,” Fitz­patrick says.

Fa­mil­iar top­ics

Christo­pher writes about real-life ex­pe­ri­ences be­cause he wants to “touch base with the com­mon per­son.” His lyrics re­volve around such peren­nial top­ics as the fish­ery, mil­i­tary, fam­ily and re­la­tion­ships. He even ad­dresses so­cial is­sues, like drink­ing and driv­ing.

The two are pleased with what Christo­pher calls “the fan­tas­tic feed­back” their al­bums re­ceive from both lis­ten­ers and the me­dia.

Fitz­patrick is happy to be help­ing mu­si­cians, many of whom, like Christo­pher, “can’t af­ford to pay the $5,000 to $10,000 ev­ery­body’s charg­ing to do a CD. It’s nice to be able to make that fea­si­ble for peo­ple.” Is there any­thing Fitz­patrick doesn’t do? “Make money,” he says with a grin. He’s dis­ap­pointed that, in his opin­ion, mu­si­cians “out­side the over­pass get over­looked by all the fund­ing from gov­ern­ment,” a re­al­ity he hopes will change some­day.

“I’m hop­ing we can con­tinue to put out al­bums as long as the qual­ity is good,” Christo­pher says. To which his buddy, Fitz­patrick, says, “He’s got some­thing to leave his grand­chil­dren that he can be very proud of, and I’m proud to be part of it with him.”

Photo by Bur­ton K. Janes/the Com­pass

Life­long friends, Dave Fitz­patrick and Tom Christo­pher, sur­rounded with record­ing equip­ment in Dave’s stu­dio.

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