He bears a startling resemblance to one of our favorite bearded acoustic soulsters, but William Fitzsimmons is charting a course all his own. For starters, he's a licensed mental health professional. Last year, he had a no. 1 album on iTunes and no record label. And to top it all off, he even managed to write an album about a divorce that doesn't make you want to run into traffic or run for the stop button.
Just signed to Downtown Records' newly launched imprint Mercer Street, Fitzsimmons' first studio LP, The Sparrow And The Crow, will be released April 7. The album had a digital-only release last fall, debuting at no. 2 on the iTunes Folk Chart and eventually becoming the no. 1 Folk Album of 2008 on iTunes.
The album's concept is an apology and confessional to his former wife, a musical documentary of his divorce. But don't be scared off by that description -- it's not music to drink yourself stupid to. Fitzsimmons was raised by two blind parents in Pittsburgh, and grew up listening to his father's orchestral records and his mother's collection of classics like Bob Dylan, James Taylor and Joni Mitchell.
You can listen to "If You Would Come Back Home" here, and hear a five-song streaming sample of the album here. Be sure to check out his upcoming tour dates below.
William Fitzsimmons - "If You Would Come Back Home"
William Fitzsimmons on tour
03.18.09 - Pepin, Wisc. (Lake Pepin Art & Design Center)
03.19.09 - Rock Island, Ill. (Rock Island Brewing Company)
03.20.09 - Omaha, Neb. (Burke's Pub)
03.21.09 - Boulder, Colo. (Boulder Theater) *supporting Madeleine Peyroux
03.22.09 - Salt Lake City, Utah (Kilby Court)
03.24.09 - Seattle, Wash. (Moore Theater) *supporting Madeleine Peyroux
03.25.09 - Portland, Ore. (Mississippi Studios)
03.27.09 - San Francisco, Calif. (Palace of Fine Arts) *supporting Madeleine Peyroux
03.28.09 - Los Angeles, Calif. (Club Nokia) *supporting Madeleine Peyroux
03.29.09 - San Diego, Calif. (LeStat's)
03.31.09 - Phoenix, Ariz. (Rhythm Room)
04.02.09 - Albuquerque, N.M. (Launchpad)
04.03.09 - Huntsville, Texas (Avenue L Coffee House)
04.04.09 - Fort Worth, Texas (Lola's Sixth)
04.05.09 - Austin, Texas (Stubb's Jr.)
04.07.09 - Tulsa, Okla. (The Marquee)
04.08.09 - Lawrence, Kansas (The Bottleneck)
04.09.09 - Columbia, Mo. (Mojo's)
04.11.09 - Chicago, Ill. (Schuba's)