On April 1st 2016, William Fitzsimmons will release Charleroi: Pittsburgh Volume 2, the companion piece to the previously released 7-song mini-album Pittsburgh. Best told in his own words, Fitzsimmons candidly explains the inspiration behind Charleroi.
“Charleroi is the second half of the Pittsburgh story. The Pittsburgh album was about the grandmother I knew. Charleroi is about the one I never did. My father was returned to the hospital as an infant, ill with whooping cough. He was left there for several months as an orphan before being adopted by a kind doctor who became his father. Never knowing his birth family it was assumed that mystery would always remain. In 2015, after over 60 years of wondering and waiting, the family was finally found. Having been mistakenly told that my father died in infancy, he was never sought out by the remainder of his biological family. Sadly, his mother passed away several years before having a chance to ever see her son again. Her name was Thelma and she was my grandmother. She was from Charleroi, Pennsylvania. These songs are about her.”
The Pittsburgh series follows Fitzsimmons’ 2014 full-length Lions (produced by Chris Walla/Death Cab For Cutie), which debuted at #2 on the Top New Artist Albums’ chart, as well as Top 5 on the Folk Albums chart. The appeal of Fitzsimmons’ sound is indicative of his unique upbringing and consequent life experience. Born to two blind parents, Fitzsimmons grew up in a home where sound - particularly music - was integral to communication. His parents had an assortment of guitars, pianos and other instruments, and introduced young William to the music of James Taylor, Joni Mitchell and Leonard Cohen, among others. For many years, armed with a Master's degree in counseling, he worked as a mental health therapist, and only began recording his songs during graduate school breaks. Fitzsimmons’ music has also been licensed to a wide variety of networks including ABC, NBC, MTV, Lifetime and CW and he has been featured in Billboard, NPR, Rolling Stone, Paste, Spin, NYLON Guys, Musikexpress, Uncut, Q Magazine and American Songwriter Magazine.