William Fitzsimmons.

Three times in the last three and a half years, I’ve posted about William Fitzsimmons – from the folktronica, to the folk, and back to his using his tronic-making device again.

Last Monday, I had the absolute and utter pleasure of seeing William live here in Dublin, in a tiny venue of a couple of hundred people. Looking like a lumberjack who had taken a wrong turn somewhere, he played a couple of songs, showing himself to be one of those artists sounding better live than even on CD. And then he spoke, and my 1-way bromance began. Alongside Tom McRae, William Fitzsimmons is one of the genuine and funny singers I’ve seen. I’ve been lucky that it’s been a long time since I’ve gone to a gig where the band come, play what they need to play, and with a cursory “Hello” and “Goodbye”, disappear into the night. Obviously saying hello when they come out, and goodbye as they leave. Otherwise that would be a little odd. I digress.


Between the songs, William showed the most endearing self-deprecation and humour, having the audience in stitches – before moving into the music, leaving everyone near tears. With songs about his divorce and mental illness, it was almost too-tough going at times. Almost. And as a final emotional blow, his encore was his unplugging his guitar and stepping into the middle of the crowd to play two songs acoustically, with no microphone, just his backing players/singers (from a band called Slow Runner – soon to be featured here).

After the gig, he came out to meet everyone. I hung on until he was free (the first time I’ve done that in a long, long time), and was the last person left, chatting to him for a few minutes before heading off, and finding him the same as he was on stage – witty, genuine, and a truly wonderful person.

So, from William, I give you “Passion Play”, from his first album, 2005’s “Until When We Are Ghosts” – plucked and slide guitar, and THAT voice. The song meaning is yours to derive (by his own admission, he prefers people to bring their own meaning out of songs)…

But is essentially about wanting to be better. Wanting to be different…

I should not have hid where my heart can’t follow
‘Cause this grace gets so far and too hard to swallow
I’ve been running from Saul, he’s been giving chase
And I look in his eyes, all I see is my face

Are you still on my back after all these years?
Chasing me out of Hell and my nice veneers
I don’t know how you stand when you’ve got no floor
Or how you can breathe with your hands on board

I just want to be not what I am today
I just want to be better than my friends might say
I just want a small part in your passion play

Do you hear when I call in the midst of wrong?
Do you hear these here words while I sing you this song?
Are you caught up in me like I heard you say?
Or just some big cashier that I’ll have to pay

I just want to be not what I am today
I just want to be better than my friends might say
I just want a small part in your passion play

William Fitzsimmons – Passion Play

www: The Bearded One’s official website, Facebook Page, and MySpace.