William Fitzsimmons takes brooding folk music to an entirely new, much more self-aware level. Mixing electronic drum beats with the soulful picking of an acoustic guitar, he produces music that can make the listener simultaneously smile and weep.
Fitzsimmons says that as a solo artist, this mixture of distinct styles is really just “a necessity.”
“I grew up with folk music, but I wanted to make songs that were an extension on that, given the new technologies, and wanting to make them the most full and well developed songs that I could,” Fitzsimmons says.
He is the son of two blind parents who taught him to play and shaped his musical background with their classical and folk music roots.
“The unique thing for me, I think, is that [music] was a little more necessary of a thing for us. It was not as much fun and recreation, but it was how we could get along,” Fitzsimmons says.
His past experience includes working in a psychiatric hospital for about four years, which taught him a lot about dealing with rough situations. His time, at what he calls a “very difficult place,” resonates through with his sometimes-jarring humor that takes over his live show.
Based only on his lyrics and songs, fans are often surprised with his humor and jocular attitude at these live shows. They don’t expect such a lighthearted performance accompanying songs about divorce and family struggles.
“It’s a manner of just being balanced. Every day, something good happens and something really awful happens in your life, my life and everyone’s,” Fitzsimmons says. “There’s a lot of funny shit and sad shit, there’s no use in focusing on one of them.” (Lindsey Kratochwill)
August 19 at Schubas, 3159 North Southport, (773)525-2508, 7pm all ages/10pm 21+. $17.