William Fitzsimmons for a Friday


Yep, I am most definitely late on this one. I don’t understand how I have not listened to this bearded mellow fellow more often, and trust me, such a thought now gives me deep regret. But presenting him to you on a Friday makes me happy, as he’s the perfect sound to wind your week down. In the same vein as Michigan era Sufjan Stevens, Sam Beam (surprise, surprise) and Ray LaMontagne comes William Fitzsimmons, an Illinois singer-songwriter by way of Pittsburgh, PA.

Fitzsimmons is an interesting story, one that inspires and enchants. Per his biography: “Born the youngest child of two blind parents, William was raised in the outskirts of the steel city of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Due to the family’s inability to communicate through normal visual means, William’s childhood home was filled with a myriad of sounds to replace what eyes could not see. The house was suffused with pianos, guitars, trombones, talking birds, classical records, family sing-a-longs, bedtime stories, and the bellowing of a pipe organ, which his father built into the house with his own hands. When his father’s orchestral records were not resonating through the walls, his mother would educate him on the folk stylings of James Taylor, Joni Mitchell, Bob Dylan, and Simon & Garfunkel.

His first two records were self-produced and his most recent, September of ’08 album, The Sparrow And The Crow, is his first studio recorded work. The roots and influences become entirely apparent when listening to Fitzsimmons’ breathy voice which floats willingly along to his folky instrumentation. Utterly captivating upon first listen, Fitzsimmons’ crisp strings accompany the soft background percussion quite well, and falsetto/female harmonies creep their way into the scene, creating some extraordinarily delicate, yet delictable sounds. Oh, and don’t forget about those wistful keys. Highest recommendation for all Fitzsimmons songs.

He’ll be at Canal Room (presented by The Tripwire) in New York City on April 17.

William Fitzsimmons – “They’ll Never Take The Good Years” [MP3] (alternate link – left click) (from The Sparrow And The Crow)

William Fitzsimmons – “Find Me To Forgive” [MP3] (alternate link – left click) (from The Sparrow And The Crow)

William Fitzsimmons – “Please Don’t Go” [MP3] (alternate link – left click) (from Goodnight)

William Fitzsimmons on MySpace

3 comments to William Fitzsimmons for a Friday

  • this is really lovely! reminds me a lot also of some of the Morr releases. i can never get enough of this sound

  • Lee

    Brian, good call with the Morr music. I was actually thinking the same thing when I first heard “Please Don’t Go”. The electronica drumkit noise made it “Morr”-ish. Impressive for Morr that we can tell what kind of music they put out there and then label it “Morr”-ish (at least in my case) ; )

  • Love William Fitzsimmon’s stuff. He is criminally overlooked at times, I remember having to order a CD from him via MySpace – NO digital downloads! Not quite like that now, but still – he has something that needs to be heard by more people. Nice post!