A relative newcomer to Providence, RI, Ryan Fitzsimmons was recently nominated for Best Folk Act in the Providence Phoenix Best Music Poll for 2004. Ryan is simply the kind of musician who impresses immediately.
Originally from central New York, Ryan Fitzsimmons' first exposure to music was sitting on the stairs in his parent's house as a child, listening to his older brother Todd practice blues licks along to Muddy Waters albums. He fell in love with the sound, and playing guitar became simply what he had to do. Ryan first gained attention at age 14 playing lead guitar in an alternative rock band called Anodyne which was nominated for a Syracuse Area Music Award (SAMMY). But after performing in a number of electric bands, Ryan decided to give up the amplifiers to see what he could do with just wood and steel and voice. What he discovered in performing solo with an acoustic guitar was an intimacy and nuance he found instantly inspiring.
Bringing to the fold his years of electric guitar playing and using innovative alternate tunings, Ryan Fitzsimmons' acoustic world runs the emotional gambit. The lyrics of Ryan's songs range from gentle, poetic details to the in-your-face realism of a bar fight, and his guitar ranges just as far, from starry night to thunderclap.
Over the last 5 years, Ryan has quietly been establishing a reputation as one of the most original and promising young songwriters on the scene today. Playing shows from Montana to New England (including venues such as Caffe Lena in Saratoga Springs, NY; Johnny D's in Somerville, MA; and the Narrows Center for the Arts in Fall River, MA) Ryan has been engaging audiences with his distinctive songwriting and dynamic performances. Along the way, Ryan has shared the stage with performers Jesse Winchester, Peter Mulvey, Brooks Williams, Vance Gilbert, Jeff Lang, Paul Rishell & Annie Raines, and Railroad Earth, among others.
Ryan's first CD, Open All Night, is the long-awaited companion to his live show. The album is a statement of Ryan's history, and in it Ryan takes all the diners, gas stations, smoky bars, and side streets that he's come across and extracts the human element, drawing the listener in with the questions and emotions that these places resonate. The album also features collaborations with many of Ryan's friends, including a subtle give-and-take with Peter Mulvey on the song "Write it Down". Delivered with Ryan's inspired guitar playing and dynamic presentation, Open All Night proves what has been exciting audiences at Ryan's live performances for years.
"I don't know what I was teaching him for, he could probably teach me a thing or two."
Vance Gilbert - singer-songwriter (during a live performanc in 2000)
"I dug his deal, he gets better every time I see him."
Peter Mulvey - singer-songwriter
"With a flair for the dramatic and the ability to turn power-chords into melody lines, RYAN FITZSIMMONS has long been a stand-out performer on the Syracuse acoustic scene. His continuing growth as a writer of songs rich in imagery and emotion gives Syracuseans even more right to be proud of him. With an increasingly busy tour schedule of regional gigs (he recently made a big splash opening for Peter Mulvey at the legendary Café Lena in Saratoga Springs), Ryan is poised to bust out of the local scene and make his mark as one of the northeast's most exciting new folk musicians."
Joe Cleveland - Music Director, Folkus Project, Syracuse NY
"Ryan Fitzsimmons is a local singer-songwriter grinding out solo acoustic performances in Central NY on a regular basis. Formerly with the band Anodyne, Ryan has shed his electric skin and crafted a full, earthy acoustic whiplash. Ryan's rhythmic strumming and impassioned vocals can go from tranquil to completely possessed in about a second. So make sure you don't blink during one of his plainly honest and crackling performances."
Tom Barron - writer for The Revolving Door, Syracuse NY
"Ryan is clearly more comfortable expressing himself through the music, and it seems he has a lot to say. Every one the songs played were filled with passion and emotion. Ryan Fitzsimmons is a performer that every self-respecting Syracusean should make the effort to check out."
Michael Haight - CNYMusicAndArt.com (no longer online)
"I enjoy Ryan Fitzsimmons - he has a place he goes when he plays that makes it easy to see that he LOVES playing. His music is energetic and dynamic...it's inspiring to me."
Dion Labatos - session player and leader of Syracuse based band Peep, in an interview with CNYMusicAndArt.com (no longer online)