On March 3, 2011 The Appetizer Radio Show hosted two great indie artists in our city of Abilene (and Clyde), Tx. We hosted William Fitzsimmons and his accomplice Jake Long for an exclusive session in studio and we wanted to share the experience we had with you. First, I need to give a little history and/or context.
Back in 2006 Myspace wasn’t what it is today. I got an account and started hearing some music I’d never known about before. From 2006-2009, Myspace was a mecca for me and others like me who wanted to discover unknown and emerging artists who had a lot of talent but not necessarily the money to really promote themselves. Don’t get me wrong, there were a lot of lemons out there too, there still are. Or perhaps I should say there were and are a lot more people with some good ideas and a little talent, but need experience and mentoring before they’ll really be able to market their work in a successful way. During this time, I discovered some excellent indie artists like our good friends Lindsay Katt, Jerzy Jung, Bess Rogers, and William Fitzsimmons. The first thing that stuck out to me was the storytelling and the amazing beard. I admit to being a little jealous of guy’s that can grow the big beard. My facial hair doesn’t have that capability, which is why I grew the goatee so long. But I digress.
Shortly after first hearing William’s music, I messaged him about an interview. He quickly replied and thus began our friendship. Over the years, I’ve been able to keep up with his writing and music through phone interviews and concert interviews. In the interview we’ll present this coming weekend, I reference an interview I did with him in the backseat of a friend’s car, which we also did with indie artist Rosi Golan whom he was touring with at the time. That was a trip, and both were great sports about it.
Since 2006, I’ve been working and scheming to get William out to Abilene, namely to perform at our beloved Paramount Theater in a concert series with public radio station (and carrier station) KACU. Finally after 5 years, my colleague and friend Barry Smoot worked it out and scheduled William to perform at the Paramount in a special performance right after the release of his 2011 album Gold In The Shadow. It would be a special concert before his tour began to promote the album, and would feature his good friend Jake Phillips, who was on his tour with Rosi a few years ago. This concert set up an in-studio session with William and Jake that we recorded at Flyboy Studio the day before. The session was recorded and engineered by Elliott Park and Jeremy Strom, whose work and expertise made this a greater experience than I ever imagined.
From the moment we sat down, it was like a private concert taking place in the studio. William and Jake just started playing around on songs. They hadn’t had a practice time up until that point and were going to be performing together in 24 hours. They went through a few songs from the setlist, which was yet to be written completely at that point. They also messed around with a Creedance Cleerwater cover which I think they should record as a single sometime. I’ll have to look and see if we got that on tape or not. It was cool. Towards the end of our talk he asked me if there was a song I wanted to hear and there was, my favorite from his debut album Until When We Are Ghosts called Find It In Me. Unfortunately Jake didn’t know that one, so they couldn’t do it. But they were both great and cool enough to practice it later on (I can only assume) and performed it on stage the following night at the show, which was amazing.
There was a lot of joking and just fun. After we’d been recording and taped a lot of the interview portion, my wonderful wife brought us all coffee that she’d crafted at home (down the road from the studio). I don’t want to brag, but she’s the best at a lot of things. You can read her blog located in our Blogroll category called Tales Of A Clyde Woman to know more of that. But even Jake and William noted that it was the best coffee they’d had in a long time. Afterwards, she also had made some desert for us all. A great touch for a show centered around the commonality of food and music.
The conversation involved everything from that interesting interview from Dallas a few years back to the evolution of his songwriting and journey as a human coming to terms with loss and difficulties in life. Fans of his music know that his first 2 albums told the story of how his family dealt with the divorce of his parents. The third record (Sparrow and the Crow) gave a voice to the two parts of that healing process as he continued to dive into the depth of the hurt, loss, and healing. Being a professional therapist and counselor gives him a unique insight into the process of inner healing. But it can also make it more challenging to deal with yourself when the same symptoms are present. That’s something he had to face in his own life, which led to a different kind of music. His new album Gold In The Shadow deals with a variety of different psychological disorders, and the hope of wholeness that anyone who has experienced loss and pain strive to achieve.
I don’t want to give away too much of the session except to say that our time together, as it is with other artists, is laid back and casual and will be presented that way. We’re a place where artists come to chill, and in the process talk about their music and stories and hear a song or two in the process. It’s a like a hang out time at dinner that you the listener get to sit in on as well.
The radio program has a running time of 59 minutes, which includes the acoustic songs they performed. There was a lot in the interview I had to leave out because of time. If you’d like to hear the uncut interview, you can email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
This session will air Saturday afternoon at 3P on KVLU-1 in Beaumont, TX, Saturday at 9PM on KACU in Abilene, TX, and Sunday at 9PM on KTRL. Click on the links to go to the station sites to listen live.
All the photography is the work of the amazing Meagan Hernandez.