Over the course of his career, William Fitzsimmons has made his living writing a specific brand of honest and inward-looking folk songs that fearlessly and candidly examine the evolving self while dexterously communicating his talent for robust melodies and catchy instrumentation. That the subject matter tends to dwell on the darker parts of human existence and relationships is no coincidence.
“I get that question all the time: ‘You ever gonna write some happy music?’” Fitzsimmons says. “There are a million different good answers—to paraphrase Ani DiFranco, ‘When I’m happy I just want to live, I don’t want to write about it’—all that’s true. Personally, my job description when it was handed to me, for whatever reason, was: ‘You need to write about the hard shit.’ It became my responsibility. It might sound a little egotistical, and I don’t mean it to, but it’s just my job. That’s what I do, and I do it well. So, I write ‘sad music’; if that’s how someone wants to categorize it, that’s fine. But if you look a little deeper, I think there’s a lot more going on.”
Beginning with his debut album Until When We Are Ghosts, Fitzsimmons has released nearly a dozen full-length, EP, and live records of profound and intensely personal material. When it comes to his songwriting, nothing in his private life is off limits: he has written about being raised by disabled parents, experiencing two divorces, adopting his two children, and working with the mentally ill as a mental health therapist prior to his music career. His 2018 album, Mission Bell, chronicled his separation from his then-wife caused by her infidelity; when he realized that, despite their attempts to save the marriage, the split was destined to be permanent, he began work on a new album as a response to both the imminent divorce as well as his own turbulent behavioral reaction. Now, Fitzsimmons is set to release Ready the Astronaut as a powerful testament to his own past, and by weaving his story through the familiar tale of Icarus, he illustrates his willingness to accept his life’s highs and lows by paying tribute to the influence they have on the future.