William Fitzsimmons delivers a special performance at NYU Skirball, along with opening act Leif Vollebekk, connecting to the rich folk tradition of Greenwich Village.
“Somewhere between Iron & Wine’s beard and the musical styles of Sufjan Stevens and Bon Iver, you will find William Fitzsimmons.”FILTER MAGAZINE
William Fitzsimmons is equal parts songwriter and psychotherapist, creating captivating music, which uniquely melds depravity, honesty, and autobiography into a counter-intuitive seamless whole. Since 2005, Fitzsimmons has created three full-length albums, each thoroughly themed and embossed with matters of family history, intimate disclosure, and bold confession, yielding rich folk music, ranging from the stark and acoustic to the voluminous and electronic. All the while reflecting William's commitment to addressing what is always pressing, and yet all too often ignored.
Growing up with two blind parents, sound became extremely important in communicating and relating to one another. After growing up around music, he set it aside to pursue his education. William received his masters in counseling and worked as a psychotherapist for several years before turning to songwriting. He truly writes the kind of songs that most songwriters dream about; brilliant, heavy, complex and intensely personal…the songs are nothing short of breathtaking.
His latest albem, Lions is a musical reflection of the personal renovation that’s taken place since 2010’s Gold In The Shadow. Best summed up by Fitzsimmons himself:
“The last couple years have been…full (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.”
Leif Vollebekk spent two years searching for perfect takes, which took him from his Montréal home to a Manhattan studio, from a Woodstock farmhouse to a mansion outside of Paris. The heart of his songs were always recorded live, to tape - old school, spontaneous, one real captured moment. And the result? Shambling ballads, noisy folk songs and vivid portraits of a traveling 27-year-old's life.