If you’ve read this blog at all in the past month, you know I’ve been talking A LOT about William Fitzsimmons. The big reason for that was we were privileged to host him last Saturday in Abilene at a great show at The Paramount Theater. I was really blessed to get to host him at Flyboy Studios the night before the show in an exclusive interview and performance with Jake Phillips. It was a really phenomenal experience. I’ll post the Youtube videos (link goes to our youtube page of a previous session with The Rocketboys at Flyboy Studios) of the songs performed and feature portions of the interview in some upcoming podcasts, as well as air some of the material in an upcoming episode of The Appetizer.
The session at Flyboy Studio was incredible, as you’ll soon see. The show at The Paramount was one of the most unique concert experiences I’ve had. William’s style is very soft folk, with his almost whispered voice and quiet acoustic guitar. It’s the subject matter that’s the really deep thing, diving into real life areas of loss, pain, tragedy, and separation. If all the show offered was a bald guy with a huge beard singing about the worst times of his life, the show would probably not be appealing to the average concert-goer. This is why the experience was so unique. Between the songs, William would poke at the audience, make several witty jokes and engage in a correspondence with the crowd that I haven’t seen before.
So you have this dynamic of really deep, personal songwriting that doesn’t just take a glimpse of some dark areas of the human soul, it goes into the heart and finds whatever darkness is there and faces it, instead of running away. It’s a bravery in songwriting that’s pretty one-of-a-kind. Audiences were pretty blown away. But what was the real game changer was how William interacted with concert-goers. Most of the crowd hung out for a while after the show for him to come out and talk to the fans, as well as sign stuff. It was a great experience for all.
I really enjoyed getting to host William and Jake and look forward to them coming back. Jake has a debut album set to come out in a few months. We’ll definitely play some of his music and talk with him in the future. He’s such an incredible guitarist and talent. Usually with side guitarists, there is a bit of pride and ego that comes in on stage when there’s space for a solo. Not the case with Jake. He had such reverence for William and respected his role as songcrafter. His harmonies vocally as well as what he added on guitar made it sound like William was playing 2 guitars at once. They were one instrument, and the dynamic of that sound was magnificent. You’ll definitely see and hear it in the videos and podcasts from the interview session.After the show I got to talk with a lot of new people. It was a huge honor to get to connect with people on music and talk about what they liked about the show. I made some great new friends and look forward to playing some of their suggestions. Two of the new people I met are Liz and Cory. They drove from Houston to see that show, and are self-proclaimed “Fitzheads.” They travel to his Texas gigs regularly and when they come, they bring him gifts, which are a collection of random things bought at gas stations. Yesterdays gifts included a slap bracelet, jellybeans, and a fossil egg you bury. It was great. It’s fans like this that make shows really awesome.
One other cool thing was presenting William with the first Golden Fork trophy from our 2010 group. Hundreds of people voted all over the country and he is the 2010 Appetizer Artist Of The Year. I presented the Golden Fork trophy (sponsored by Bonterra Blu) to him on stage after introducing him. He held the trophy up and the crowd went wild. It was really cool. And throughout the course of the show, he kept making references and mentions to the trophy, which he placed on a stool next to him along with his drink. It was really great.
William will kick off a nation-wide tour next month. Check out his upcoming dates at his website.
One other thing to note, I’d like to mention that I am blessed to have a new addition to the show-Meagan Hernandez. Meagan will be serving as my sous chef, and will be heard on some upcoming podcasts. She’s also the videographer for our upcoming videos, photographer for our events. It’s such a huge blessing to have her working with the show. Look for more stuff coming soon.Also, someone very dear to my heart and a close friend Michael Hagerty has a huge opportunity. He has auditioned to be the next game announcer for the Chicago Cubs. Michael has been a lifelong Cubs fan, and has over a decade of experience in broadcasting as well as audio production with work at KWBU and KNPB. He got his start at KACU. He also is the man behind The Appetizer’s original website and logo. It would mean a lot to me and to him for you to go to his youtube audition, like it and leave a comment. Thanks.