“A masterful weaver of songs whose deep, resonant voice rivals the best of his genre…”
“Beneath the friendly charisma is the heart of a purist gently leading us from the songs of our lives to the timeless traditional songs he knows so well…”
The American Folk Experience
The American Folk Experience collects, curates and shares the most enduring songs of our musical heritage—songs that John Fitzsimmons has spent the better part of the last forty years performing in pubs, and schools, on concert-stages and street-corners, and at camps, festivals and celebrations of all kinds. Every performance, workshop and presentation is a celebration and exploration of the timeless songs and stories that have shaped and formed the musical history of America.
Festivals & Celebrations —Coffeehouses —School Assemblies — Library Presentations —Songwriting Workshops —Artist in Residence — House Concerts —Pub Singing — Irish & Celtic Performances — Campfires —Senior Centers —Voiceovers & Recording
I have often wished that I could point to some longstanding musical lineage in my life, so that I could view myself as a “traditional source” for traditional music; instead, I am just a guy who loves traditional folk music—and I am still not quite sure why. Sometimes I laugh with my crowds (and often lack of crowds) that folk music is the quickest way for a non-musician to pretend he or she is a musician—but in my heart and soul I know there is something much deeper and more complex going on that has steeped itself into a strong tea infused with my own being.
Folk music has connected me—and still connects me—with people, times, communities and cultures far off the beaten path of the everyday roads I travel each day. By learning and performing these old folksongs, I feel like I am doing my part to etch upon the yardstick of time a living and dynamic memory of our most primal and guttural—and often the most common— responses to life. But I know there is more…
Away from the energy and allure of the stage, I still hum, sing and chant these old folksongs and ballads as meditations, prayers and incantations to the day or night—lonely, votive offerings to mysteries deeper than myself, or, perhaps, too deep within myself to be measured, weighed and sold in words. My “faith” in folk music is not unlike my faith in God—I don’t need to be convinced of anything: God brings me spring; folk music brings me ballads, and that is all the proof I need.
I am indebted to the many friends who share my love of traditional songs and to the many scholars whose works are too many to include here. I am also incredibly grateful to the collector’s curators and collators of Wikipedia, Mudcat.org, MainlyNorfolk.info, and TheContemplator.com for their wise, thorough and informative contributions to the study of folk music.
I share this scholarly research on my site with humility, thanks, and gratitude. Please cite sources accordingly with your own research. If you have any research or sites you would like to share on this site, please contact me.