Singer-songwriter and music producer William Fitzsimmons’latest record,
Mission Bell is a chronicling of the tumultuous last year of his life, particularly of the separation from his second wife. An initial version of the album was originally recorded in Fitzsimmons’ home studio in the summer of 2017 but was subsequently abandoned during the course of, and as a result of, the separation.
In 2018 William traveled to Nashville, TN to start recording the album over from square one. Working with producer Adam Landry(Deer Tick, Los Lobos, k.d. Lang, Vanessa Carlton), Fitzsimmons spent a month’s time rebuilding the lost record, with contributions from friends, including Abby Gundersen andRosie Thomas. The resulting 11-song album tells the story of a decade-long marriage destroyed and eventually rebuilt from the ground up.
The process and the results are both painful and healing, but also respect the complexity of humans, especially at their worst. This is not an exercise in “good-guy, bad-guy” songwriting; rather an attempt to find empathy, even when people are at their most depraved. Mission Bellincludes songs about betrayal, but also reconciliation and forgiveness.
Choosing to go deeper than mere absolutism and fate, these are stories of people doing their best, but still managing to often
destroy each other in the process.
“Having to let go of the first version of this record was incredibly strange and something I’ve never done before. But it was the right thing to do. That record was made at a time when nearly all involved, including myself, were living dishonestly and selfishly and poorly, and it was clear in the results. When I was forced to see the truth of how rotten things had become inside and around me, I deleted every note and every word. My dear friend and manager, Rishon, connected me with producer Adam Landry, and together the two of us spent weeks upon weeks breathing back life into a project that I thought was lost for good. By the time wefinished, I felt like I had reclaimed something that was taken from me and I remain terribly proud of this work as a result, ” says Fitzsimmons.
Sonically, Mission Bell is Fitzsimmons’ first analog tape-centric album. The sounds are raw, real, and tangible. The
familiar comforts of acoustic guitars are present but now joined generously by synthesizers, electric guitars, drum loops
and violins. “Cutting to tape was new and honestly rather terrifying to me. There’s no “we’ll fix that in post” kind of shit going on. What you play is what you’re gonna hear on the record. But there’s a specialness you get in a performance when you don’t have a parachute. You either play it like it matters to you or you don’t and I think that comes through so clearly in the recordings.”
Originally from Pittsburgh, PA, Fitzsimmons currently resides in Nashville, TN.
Jim and Sam are a Los Angeles based wife/husband singer-songwriter duo. On November 3rd 2017 they completed their Anywhere Everyday Tour which found them playing one show every day for a year, changing their perspective on what it means to be musicians, performers and songwriters. At the end of the project they signed to Nettwerk Music Group and are currently working on new music that will soon be released and a documentary film about their 365 day Anywhere Everyday Tour.
Their latest single, "Doctor Please," was produced by Dan Molad (Chimney and Lucius). Their single, "Underdogs," was recorded on tour with producer Viktor Bälter-Lundin and musicians Magnus Olsson and Anders Pettersson (Melissa Horn, Lykke Li). In 2015, they self released their debut EP, "This Is What's Left," produced by Lasse Marten (Lykke Li, Peter Bjorn and John).
In 2007 they met at a comedy show.
Nice words from nice people...
"Their songs are impeccably written, structured, and arranged. They’re also so very pretty, and incredibly catchy; earworms in the best possible way." Marion Hodges, KCRW MUSIC BLOG
“Only equipped with an acoustic guitar, a storm-mounted microphone that takes up all the sounds and two amazing voices, they succeed in catching the audience's attention from the first chord. It's as if people hardly dare breathe under the songs to not break the mood and the question is if it's ever been as quiet in the usually quite messy Press Hall. This is what music is all about. Honest simplicity, two fantastic voices in tight harmonies, one acoustic guitar.”
Pierre Eriksson, REFUG SWEDEN
"Perhaps more intriguing is opener Jim and Sam whose sound is positioned somewhere in the bluegrassy knoll. The L.A. folk sweethearts are bound to break out with their Simon and Garfunkel meets Serge and Brigitte vibe (just scope their website for Chrissake)" James Walmsley, THE READER
"Keeping, yes, almost increasing, the intensity when you calm down the tempo of a song is a tough art and not all of them lost. Jim and Sam are nothing but completely phenomenal at just that ... Their two voices complement each other so incredibly well and they fill in, duel and merge into each other, as it would be obvious. Jim companys effectively on his acoustic guitar, sometimes sparse and sometimes expressive so you think all strings can go at the same time ...They stand close to each other on the stage, often face each other and they sing so nicely and varied, move diligently and look at each other with such obvious love and warmth that it is like an invisible frame of blooming around them ... This is how music should always be experienced, and it's this kind of meeting between artist and audience should always be ... (Translated from Swedish) THIRSTY BOOTS
"Their voices are intertwined into one unit and it is beautiful and beautiful...I think of Buckingham Nicks (before joining Fleetwood Mac), especially because I think Jim's voice reminds a little of Lindsey Buckingham's. Even his empathy and movement pattern when playing a guitar has a certain resemblance…. Both Sam and Jim live in the music and get full. Often it is low-key and crisp, but occasionally they stamp the beat in the floor and raise the tempo. Their midnight nose has a lot of humor and they have a glimpse of the eye." (Translated from Swedish) Pär Dahlerus, UPPSALA NYHETER
"Armed simply with a guitar, the folk duo’s haunting harmonies filled our library, both unaffected and enchanting at once. The six-song set mixed catchy melodies with harmonic odes to relationships and friends long gone."
GOLDEN STATE MAG
"The LA based duo of Jim & Sam are to put it simply, wonderful musicians. Not only that, they’re bloody hard workers too. How exactly do we know that? Well, they’re currently embarking on their biggest project yet: The Anywhere Everyday Tour, setting them the challenge of playing a live show every day for an entire year! And in fact, their live performances are an enthralling and captivating experience, driven by their catchy folk tunes and beautiful vocal harmonies."