Olivia Gulino, Contributing Writer
Some musicians are showmen, some are melody machines and some are craftsmen. William Fitzsimmons is a craftsman, one who doesn’t simply write music for the sake of catharsis or aesthetic pleasure, but who crafts something that is singularly beautiful. This isn’t to say that his music is devoid of emotional feeling. If you’re at all familiar with his discography, you’ll know that is hardly the case.
What is beautiful about Fitzsimmons’ work is that he is acutely aware of the sometimes harsh, regularly sorrowful reality that he is inviting his audience into, and yet despite this reality, he’s honest about it.
Honesty, Fitzsimmons admits, is one of the main motivations behind his new album, “Lions,” his sixth LP since he came onto the scene with “Until When We Are Ghosts” in 2005. Fitzsimmons’ work is largely consistent, with strikingly beautiful piano and acoustic guitar melodies (with some incredible guitar picking, I might add), soft vocals and scattered harmonies, united by lo-fi electronic elements, all kept fresh with the unexpected, like the electric guitar intro to “Centralia.” It’s this uniquely beautiful sound that enthralls his listeners and makes them the most avid of fans.
The temptation may be to write off Fitzsimmons as just one in a crowded genre, but this would be a mistake. His tracks are deeply personal, drawing the listener into a close relationship with the music simply through the beauty of what is being shared. Tracks from his new album — like “Took,” which deals with shame, “Centralia,” grappling with disappointing people, and “Sister,” recognizing how we allow people to fall away from us — show the depth of his poetic and musical ability.
Fitzsimmons isn’t merely concerned with being an entertainer. His real goal is speaking to his audience, telling them about his personal trials and laying bare his wounds. He’s having a conversation. Take a listen.