There is a very eloquent aspect of struggle tumbling around in the vaults that house William Fitzsimmons' music. He's the type of artist who uses his craft as a vessel for self-discovery and rationalization, to make sense of the murkier bits of life's circumstances and the emotions that seep from them. On "Josie's Song", he explores a relationship he'll never understand completely; that between his adopted daughter and her birth mother. "Lions", the title track from his latest, Chris Walla produced album, is a story that touches on the complexity of human nature. "Fortune", a "summation song", in his words, tackles the thrill of a journey with an unknown destination waiting at the end. These are the types of songs that have endeared him to a whole heap of fans, delivered in a psyche-seducing voice and perfectly picked acoustic guitar. On the day he swung by Baeble, the half dozen or so who were in the room were leveled into stunned silence in appreciation of his music. Naturally, we're excited to finally share that experience with you in our latest Dead Kitten Session.
There's fortune in the furlough On the other side Wrap ourselves in blankets The crossing of a bridge so wide, so high It's murky in the meadow As we draw in the lines we threw And leveraging the ledgers Forgetting all the blood we drew But what I do remember What I do remember is you And what I do remember What I do remember is you It's hollow in the harvest What I've lost I count for gain And filling up the firmament Visions of the one you gave away But what I do remember What I do remember is you And what I do remember What I do remember is you it's a story of a journey of... taking- taking a trip, opening the door, taking that first step, without knowing what's-, what's the next five minutes or even what's the next 20 years, you know, and having the courage to do that, and how important that really is in living, full, you know, full life. And that to me, fortune is like sort of the summation song, it's like the, I have one of those for each record, and the record can sort to be understood best by listening that one song. Yeah, then-, then new record is called Lions. I mean they're all--; All the records are very thematic, they're very like mono thematic, you know, I usually don't, I don't bounce around a lot, it's really like one idea, that I'm kind of expounding on different branches of the same tree. And, this one was based largely out of some really salient experiences I had with, the birth mother of my first child, and the process of leading up to that point of- of going through adoption, adopting-, adopting a little girl. Just encountering the people around me, in ways I'd never experienced life with people before, you know, great, great means of sacrifice, and of, just really powerful, powerful emotions, I mean I kinda thought the time that I spent specifically in the months leading up to when my first daughter was born and, getting to know this woman... That was something I had never experienced. And this combination of emotions, this real ambivalence between like, you know, th- it's the happiness add together, it's that idea. And, it kinda blew me away, anyways, that's what the record is about, the record is about that dichotomy and that really strange juxtaposition between, you know, feeling really grateful and- and blessed, and painful, and depressed at the same time. And after the rains came And washed out her remnant And looking for traces Of bloodlines in faces But you remind me of the breath That I drew For you the shadow of a ghost There's lions between us They'll cut us to pieces And before the sun came Forgotten her old name But you remind me of the breath That I drew For you the shadow of a ghost No more - Lions, that's the song I wrote for my first daughter's birth mother, and, it's a song about, trying to understand and respect the dual nature of a person, of someone being both very noble and regal, and also very- very human and, you know, not perfect, - Yeah. - you know, like the rest of us. And- and taking that all in, and what that means to acknowledge that, not that just to think of someone as a nice person but to think like, this person has the capacity for wonderful things and for, you know, for mistakes. And Josie's song is a, it's a song I wrote for, that's the name of my oldest girl, and I wrote for her but it's not- it's not like-, it's not a daddy loves you kinda song, I do but, thats a--; it's more a song between her and her birth mom, and I kind of, I wanted- I wanted to try to understand their relationship better and you know, how it'll play out maybe for the course of life or something. - Yeah. - And, it's kind of a conversation between the two of them. Though I'm not the one who made The body and the blood I won't let you down There's an elemental bond In us that won't be found But you're in my heart I can hear the sound of rain Falling through the floor As she lets you go There's a quality of pain For you she will endure That measures out her love Love When you wade in water wide Without a map to steer I will comfort you When you find the other side Honey I will still be here To measure out my love Love The measure of my love Love The measure of my love
Lions is a musical reflection of the personal renovation that's taken place since 2011's Gold In The Shadow. Best summed up by Fitzsimmons himself.
"The last couple years have beenfull (kind of difficult to describe years in a single word). They have been wonderful, painful, long, incredibly brief, and more educational and rewarding than any I've ever lived before.
I finished touring on the previous record feeling very conflicted. The longer I'm given the wonderful opportunity to write and create things, and subsequently share them with others, the more seriously and preciously I take that endeavor and responsibility. It is something I look upon with the utmost gratitude and respect.
And yet at the same time I find myself making art in a field that is itself quite the opposite of it. I am learning that one of the most difficult things about being human is not merely facing things that you don't generally find comfortable or appropriate or even good, but actually learning how to live in the midst of it and not let it take over who you are.
When you feel you are on a wrong-headed path, the quickest way to get where you want to go is to turn around, head back, and start again from the point you went askew.
And so I did.
I returned simply to the things, which have always brought me some measure of understanding, peace, and movement. I began to write and play music without "motive" or "goal" or end result in mind. The way that I wrote when I first began.
There was no cartoon light bulb over my head or kitchen timer dinging to let me know I had gotten somewhere. With the stuff that matters there rarely is I suppose. But after months and months and months (and more bottles of beer and bowls of tobacco than I'd care to disclose), I felt like a necessary distance had been traversed.
Wanting to continue in this very spirit, I chose to take yet another leap. I made a list of the producers who were making the music and records that most meant something to me. With no expectation I got in touch with the person at the top of the list. And, in a few months, I was on a plane to Seattle to begin working with Chris Walla to turn these songs in a notebook into the collection I wanted them to become.
Lions is something I'm terribly proud of and utterly connected to. It's a very personal piece to me (aren't they all) and something that I want you to connect with deeply. And I think you will. I honestly don't want to say too much about the music, because the truth is if music is of any worth, it should be able to speak for itself."