"Geography makes a difference. It matters where you come from." For tender-hearted folk singer William Fitzsimmons that place is Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, "A strong and confident city, even though it's small." Despite the city's lack of a music scene, Fitzsimmons' childhood was filled with music, so it's no surprise he would excel at this trade. Still, there is something to be a said of an artist brave enough to slay his audiences with the kind of intense, candid confessionals Fitzsimmons specializes in. Delivered in such a precise and polished manner, the confidence that tapers through his music suggests it's a coping mechanism he doesn't mind sharing with his listeners.
On Fitzsimmons' most recent long player Lions, he tackles topics mostly associated with raising his family. "All of my records are very monothematic. I don't bounce around a lot. It's really one idea that I'm expounding on...different branches of the same tree." On Lions, this idea is the adoption of his daughter and the experiences that came out of it. Specifically, "Encountering the people around me in ways I've never experienced life with people before...Great means of sacrifice and really powerful emotions," he empathetically explained in our chat. "This combination of emotions, this real ambivalence, the happy and the sad together...it kind of blew me away. That's what the record is about."
Anytime an artist demonstrates a willingness to lay it all on the line, the audience's authentic response tends to be strong. "In the beginning it all seemed very surreal to me," he admitted. "It's not that I was ignoring it, but I didn't know what it meant. I didn't have this great ambition of being a songwriter and traveling the world. I just thought it was nice." Slowly the power his songs had on people started to sink in. Some people would approach him with stories about how he's helped them to mourn or heal or celebrate their lives. Others would air their distaste for it. It's a bi-polar quality of such personal songs even Fitzsimmons himself says he enjoys. It weeds out the indifference.
Mark Baeble in the, "my god, this music is absolutely amazing" camp then. Have a look at our heart-to-heart conversation with Fitzsimmons and do be sure to check out the full, three song performance in sessions.