William Fitzsimmons began his career in 2005 upon self-producing a handful of songs that would become his first release, Until When We Are Ghosts. His first proper studio record, 2008's The Sparrow and the Crow, topped iTunes' folk albums chart with its grace, warmth and verisimilitude to the human struggle.
With whisper-sharp vocals, vivid image and ornate harmonies, comparisons to the late Elliot Smith and Iron & Wine come easy, but such comparisons fail to highlight Fitzsimmons' knack for filling his music with topics both personal and confessional. 2006's Goodnight is evidence. "Please Don't Go," one of the album's many popular tracks, features subdued electronic blips, pops and snaps (something Fitzsimmons has become known for) reminiscent of a more diligent and purposeful Postal Service.
Fitzsimmons' newest record, 2011's Gold in the Shadow on the Nettwerk label, focuses on his creative rebirth following divorce. The lead single, "The Tide Pulls from the Moon," slides along with gorgeous guitar twang, piano and shimmering pedal steel to render hearts wracked on sea rocks in the mind of the listener. "Beautiful Girl," is crystalline melancholy in both form and instrumentation, and "Psychasthenia" highlights Fitzsimmons' ability to deftly blend folk with electronic influences.
But ultimately fans must catch Fitzsimmons live to understand the versatility and gut-wrenching power of this songwriter, storyteller, multi-instrumentalist and vital troubadour.
Photos by Kate McDaniel.