Wednesday, 22 April 2009

William Fitzsimmons - New Waves @ Breaking More Waves

It seems almost mandatory these days for any American new acoustic country folk artist to fashion a fine beard. From Fleet Foxes to Bon Iver, it seems that everyone is at it. William Fitzsimmons beats the lot of them hands down though - or should that be razors down ? He also creates very good music.

Having previously released two self produced albums, a third release The Sparrow And The Crow is his first fully produced studio release. William is currently on tour in the U.S and will grace the UK for two shows, firstly at the Bush Hall in London, followed by a lunchtime gig at Arc, Brighton as part of the Great Escape Festival where he is one of the opening acts of the whole festival.

The back story with Fitzsimmons goes something like this; born of two now divorced blind parents, his childhood home was filled with objects of sound to make up for what his parents missed in vision. Pianos, guitars, trombones and pipe organs combined with his mothers collection of Joni Mitchell, Bob Dylan, Simon & Garfunkel. By the time he left school Fitzsimmons was well versed in these instruments and music, but instead decided to work and study in the area of mental health. It was only when his studies were complete that he returned to music, the products of which can now be heard, significantly through exposure from the television programs Greys Anatomy and One Tree Hill. His new album acts as a form of psychotherapy, following what he has described as his bleakest hour - his own divorce.

Fitzsimmons songs are downbeat, hushed and have a warm solemn sleepy quality to them. With the sounds of acoustic guitar, occasional piano and simple percussion there are hints of Elliot Smith, Iron & Wine, Sufjan Stevens and Evan Dando at his most mellow. With titles like We Feel Alone, Funeral Dress and You Still Hurt Me it is unlikely that you’ll be hearing William Fitzsimmons blasting out at many parties; it seems that the man has had his fair share of pain and emotional struggle. On It’s Not True he mourns sadly of his recent love lost, and on a song directed to his father called Everything Has Changed he recalls the separation of his blind parents “A guide dog had to serve the role that you would not let the mother of your children ever really play,” before recalling a dream where is father is deceased and apologising for everything that happened.

It’s all pretty damn bleak but William Fitzsimmons has said that he finds making this intensely personal music curative and healing for him. Despite this intimacy, the songs are now available for the whole world to share. Go cry with him and find the beauty out of tragedy.



Jenny said...

His lyrics are so tender. I love the lines about burying the ring he bought deep within the ground by the swing where they first met. Its so sad and real.

Anonymous said...

The confessional nature of William Fitzsimmons new songs is heartbreaking. The best beard since ZZ Top as well !

Up The Junction said...

Shame the video is so MTV Lite - it takes away from the song

Robin said...

Agreed Up The Junction. It's interesting to see how many of us are affected by other factors such as videos, fashion, what the printed media etc say in terms of our opinions on a particular piece of music.