I took a break from the spring induced desire for all things dancey and light to appreciate the more introspective side of the musical spectrum by catching William Fitzsimmon's show at the Tin Angel this week.
The lovely Rosi Golan started the evening off very right. If you're not familiar with her (and haven't already clicked the link above) by name you'd probably recognize her from the soundtrack of those TV shows you're less than willing to openly admit to Tivo-ing every week cause it seems she's got those folks in her pocket. For very good reason too. Her performance was a far cry from the usual cloying singer songwriter schtick. Backed by a gentleman named Jake Phillips she covered a range from pop [Been A Long Day] to cool and reflective [Think of Me] and was thoroughly enjoyable the entire set. It was one of those instances when you realize the perfect soundtrack for what's going on in your mind has snuck up on you and for that I can't help but appreciate what Ms Golan had to offer. I will certainly keep an eye out for her future shows and releases.
It seemed like barely enough time for a cricket to hiccup before William Fitzsimmons was taking Rosi's place on the stage (the sweet simplicity of a singer/songwriter stage set up). Looking like a man who, as he admitted himself, is one outfit away from homeless chic with a "raccoon on (his) face," Fitzsimmon's demeanor immediately put me at ease. He wasted no time acknowledging his depressing subject matter (his most recent album The Sparrow and The Crow was clearly a therapeutic outlet for him to process his divorce) but he did so with a flavor of sarcasm that set a bitter sweet flow for the rest of the evening. If the music thing fell through for him I'd say he could easily test the stand-up circuit he's that funny.
He played for an hour and a half and covered a descent amount of Sparrow but also some of his older stuff as well as a Tom Petty cover! I was really impressed with the quality of his live delivery. His recordings, especially the more recent stuff, are really well balanced so all the additional loops, instruments, vocals blend beautifully in each piece. All those extra bits were left behind, for the most part, during this show and the result was a fresh rendering of his material. Without the piano and drums to propel If You Would Come Back Home his tender voice carried it over sparse territory without loosing the weight of the lyrics. Which was true of the set on the whole giving further proof of the strength on Fitzsimmon's effortlessly smooth voice and song writing brilliance. The does manage to touch on some of the more painful intricacies of a complicated break up but in songs like You Still Hurt Me he is wise to pep it up with a lilting banjo line an the fine accompaniment of Ms. Golan. This became the audience participation moment of the evening and a good one at that. He brought Rosi back to do their duet Hazy, which can be found on her new album. Their voices meld flawlessly and Golan's lyric's complemented the rest of the set nicely. He capped the night with a hauntingly simple version of Goodmorning to slowly ease us back into the night. What could have easily been a night of "woe is me" folk was a carefully assembled night of music and laughter in the hands of the very talented William Fitzsimmons.
*Image courtesy of Erin Brown
** If You Would Come Back Home kindly provided by WF's People You should definitely buy both his and Rosi Golan's albums!