Sunday, April 19, 2009

william fitzsimmons with rosi golan - 18 april 2008 - night cat

I listen to a lot of music and a lot of different types of music. I have never come across someone who makes sad sound as beautiful as William Fitzsimmons. William's music is gentle and tender. He joked that his music was so soft sometimes he couldn't even hear it. If you could see his music, it would look like this:

That is until you listen to the beautiful sadness. William's 2006 album "Goodnight" was largely based on his parent's divorce...

from "You Broke My Heart"
did you think about my mother
when you shared the same bed cover
did you wonder if it changed her
when your sons became your stranger

and his newest release, "The Sparrow and The Crow" is about his own divorce...

from "Just Not Each Other"
Walked back home from this disaster
Saw your ghost under the plaster
Heart’s in throat and broken to pieces
I’m coming home

These songs are full of pain and regret and remorse. The listener is never sure where the blame lies but it's end result is palpable.

If you read any of the bios on William Fitzsimmons, you learn that his upbringing was anything but average. He was the youngest child of two blind parents. Growing up he was exposed to music and sound at a heightened level. He was educated as a mental health professional but found his way to a singing career instead. (Lucky us!)

William is the whole musical package... a tremendous voice, a moving lyricist and an awesome guitar player. It was a pleasure to watch and hear what he can do with a guitar. There were times his hands barely moved yet sweet, intricate music filled the room.

I have to tell you, William is what Countrymouse would call weepie girl music. This started out as a direct swipe at another band I really like, The Weepies. Now it's developed into it's own genre. This really doesn't bother me... I proudly own it. If this was all I liked, maybe that would be different, but it's just (a sizable) part of what I enjoy.

William sat on a chair during the whole show, which I always find interesting. Many artists stand or perhaps sit on a stool. However, when someone sits on a chair, especially in a small setting, I think he is showing his accessibility to his audience. In some ways, this is a gift from the artist to his fans. William's banter between songs was casual and easy, like he had known you for many years. I suppose when you are sharing the most intimate details of life in your songs, there aren't many walls left. He introduced some of his songs by saying, "This is a song about death" (Funeral Dress), "This song is about forgiveness" (You Still Hurt Me), "This is a love song" (Afterall). Each time this made me wonder who/what he was thinking when he wrote it. Other segues centered around how the Maryland flag was his favorite, unabomber jokes and football. Under all the weepie girl stuff, William was a real guy. While his songs are true reflections of him, he has found a balance in life. From an interview on The Drop,
"Dark stuff is dark. I don’t believe anybody really needs a reminder of that. What I wanted to do was to be as honest as possible with these songs, and perhaps the most honest sentiment I’ve found so far is that life is full of ambivalence, conflicting emotions, pain in the middle of a happy day, and joy following tragedy. We never seem to really experience life on only one pole, it’s always a back and forth. So is there a lot of pain in the record? Absolutely, because it’s the truth. And is there a lot of hope in the record? Absolutely, because that’s the truth too."
William's music is probably best described as folk/pop. (This is a term I really dislike but until I can think of a better one, I am stuck with it.) His live set was totally acoustic. He has been compared to Elliott Smith, Sufjan Stevens and Iron and Wine. All very good company. He has had some modest television success with his songs showing up on programs like Grey's Anatomy, Army Wives and One Tree Hill. (Why is it all the music I love shows up on these programs I would never watch?? The one exception may be Scrubs, which is an awesome show with awesome music.)

I would be remiss if I didn't comment on "The Beard". Those of you who know me, know I like facial hair. I may have met my match in Mr Fitzsimmons. Before William, Sam Quinn from the Everybodyfields held the dubious beard honor. All in all, it's kinda cool.

Rosi Golan opened for William Fitzsimmons. She's been doing some touring with him and they seem to have a mutual respect and appreciation for each other's music. She and her back-up guitarist, Jake Phillips lent their talent to a couple of William's songs and he actually is featured on a song on Rosi's brand new album, The Drifter and The Gypsy.

(This is another one of those One Tree Hill songs... really, what's up with that?)

Rosi was a joy to listen to. Her songs are thoughtful and expressive. Her voice reminds me of Feist at times. She was a perfect addition to the Fitzsimmons bill. Luckily for me, she is also touring in support of Ari Hest and will be returning to my humble little music mecca this weekend, so I get to hear her again! If you've made it this far in this post, I'll give you a break and spend more time talking about Rosi after the Ari Hest show. I would go even if she were playing alone. She's that good. I love having good music to look forward to.


Random love is always welcomed...