November 4, 2022 BY Jason Currell

Today, Illinois-based producer and renowned troubadour William Fitzsimmons releases the first in a two-part series, Covers, Vol. 1, out now via Nettwerk. Over the course of his career, Fitzsimmons has made his living writing a specific brand of honest and inward-looking folk songs that fearlessly and candidly examine the evolving self. He brings his signature dexterity and talent for robust melodies to this collection of covers. The selections are as imaginative and diverse as Fitzsimmons himself.

Listen to Covers Vol. 1 available on all digital retailers (here).

I just wanted to do songs that meant a lot to me for varying reasons,” he says. “I share some of the songs with other people. Some of the songs remind me of my childhood. Some of the songs are low-key messages to individuals from my past—and they’re not necessarily positive. Some of the songs are just pure joy. Ultimately, they are all songs I love and respect from artists I think are incredible.”

You can piece together the life of William Fitzsimmons with these songs. Some recollect joyful moments at home as a kid, and others recall his high school days. A handful of tracks address heartbreak head-on without apology, while a few reflect his inclination to embrace youthful wonder and creativity. No matter what, his voice carries these words straight from the heart.

Fitzsimmons was born to blind musician parents with an incredible collection of instruments and records. In their house, “music was this level playing field we could experience together because you don’t need to be able to see to enjoy it. Dad played the organ and favored baroque and classical, while mom loved folk and sang hymns in a choir. The family would call out favorite chords and bond through sound. Even though dad “wished he did more serious music, William jammed along to everyone from Metallica and The Steve Miller Band to The Beatles. He eventually achieved a master’s degree in counseling and held down a day job as a mental health therapist, yet music’s magnetic pull never let go of him.

Following 2005’s Until When We Are Ghosts, he generated hundreds of million streams across fan favorite albums such as Gold In The Shadow [2011], Lions [2014], Pittsburgh [2015], Mission Bell [2018], Ready The Astronaut [2021], and No Promises: The Astronaut’s Return [2021]. He landed significant syncs on ABC, NBC, MTV, Lifetime, and The CW. Notably, NPR once dubbed him “A Songwriter With Vision, and he incited the applause of American SongwriterBillboardNYLONPop MattersRolling StoneQ MagazineUncut, and more.

Once the Global Pandemic hit, he found himself at home with time and a basement studio.

I needed something to work on, so I just started doing covers,” he shares. “I didn’t even make a list; it was just a way to keep from going crazy. The longer I worked on it, the more excited I got. It was self-therapy so that I wouldn’t lose my mind. However, it ended up one of my favorite periods of being a musician.

He initially teased out Vol. 1 with his take on Joy Division’s “Love Will Tear Us Apart.” He strips down this classic to delicate acoustic guitars, the hum of airy keys, and gentle vocals, tapping into its stark emotional core. Elsewhere, he pays homage to “life-changing” artists such as Sufjan Stevens (“Futile Devices“) and R.E.M. (“Sweetness Follows“) and shows reverence to Gen-Z songsmiths a la Chelsea Cutler (“Please“) and Phoebe Bridgers (“Smoke Signals“). Meanwhile, his take on Elton John’s “Your Song” forever holds a special place in his heart as it effectively turns the page on the next chapter of his life.

On Valentine’s Day a couple of years ago, I recorded it for my now-wife,” he reveals. “She’s not a big flowers person, so I cut the cover and sent it to her instead. It became our song. She even walked down the aisle to it. It set the stage for all of these covers.

In the end, you might get to know William better than ever on Covers, Vol. 1.

Music was always made me feel a little less alone,” he leaves off. “I hope people hear this and feel more connected to themselves, their friends, spouses, and children. I chose these songs because of some connection with another person. It’s all I really want.

Album Cover Art | Download HERE

Track List:

  1. the 1 (Taylor Swift)
  2. Love Will Tear Us Apart (Joy Division)
  3. The Commander Thinks Aloud (The Long Winters)
  4. Solsbury Hill (Peter Gabriel)
  5. Annie’s Song (John Denver)
  6. Please (Chelsea Cutler)
  7. Futile Devices (Sufjan Stevens)
  8. Sweetness Follows (R.E.M.)
  9. Naked As We Came (Iron & Wine)
  10. Your Song (Elton John)
  11. Lovin’s For Fools (Sarah Siskind)
  12. Smoke Signals (Phoebe Bridgers)