“‘Pittsburgh” is a record about two things,’ so says Pennsylvania native William Fitzsimmons, concerning his new 7 song collection named for the steel city. “It’s a memorial for my grandmother, who lived her whole life there, and it’s an honorarium to my hometown.”
The original idea for the songs was birthed nearly a decade ago. Fitzsimmons says he’s been trying to write about the city since he began composing his first songs in 2005. “It certainly wasn’t for lack of inspiration; that place and the people whose lives I shared there have more to do with who I am than probably anything else. But I never quite felt like I had my thoughts worked through enough about it to set it to paper.”
William returned to Pittsburgh in late 2014 to lay his grandmother to rest. It was over the course of those three days that he finally felt certain it was the proper time to do the work. “I had this very strange, but incredibly profound experience where one of my grandmothers’ closest friends told me that the mantle of the family’s musical headship was being passed from my grandmother to me. I honestly didn’t even understand what that meant (and I’m still not sure that I do), but those words have been gnawing at me ever since. I just wanted to do something, no matter how small, to tell anybody that would listen what an amazing woman my grandmother was and how important the city we shared was to both of us.”
Fitzsimmons produced, performed, and mixed nearly the entire record on his own, something he hasn’t done since 2006’s “Goodnight” album. “Sometimes you need someone else’s perspective…their mastery to fulfill your vision. Other times, however, you need to go in by yourself, lock the door, and stay until your done. I knew these songs needed the latter.”
“Pittsburgh” is Fitzsimmons’ seventh album.