Quick Q & A with Ryan Fitzsimmons

Ryan Fitzsimmons

Ryan Fitzsimmons has been described as a ‘brutal force of nature” on acoustic guitar. His original songs are edgy, meaningful, and often breathtaking. His authentic lyrics and powerful playing combine to make audiences pay attention and want more time after time.

To learn more about Ryan Fitzsimmons, check out his website. Here’s a video of Ryan singing “Dear Eugene” from his album Cold Sky.


What was the first Bob Dylan song that you remember hearing?
I have no idea, as far as I can remember Dylan has always been part of my musical landscape. However, I do remember when he first resonated with me deeply. It was seeing the solo performance of “Tangled Up in Blue” from the Rolling Thunder era on PBS in 1993 – it was tagged as the 30th anniversary concert. I was 16. That concert was amazing; everyone I’d ever heard of at the time just played the hell out of a Dylan tune. But that older footage from the credits of Dylan always sticks with me, there was something so electric happening in that performance, that undefinable “it” that draws everyone and anyone in. Who wouldn’t want to try to capture that for themselves? I’ve been trying for 20 years. That performance still blows me away, check it out!
What were your impressions about Dylan then? And now?
See my answer above. That hasn’t really changed, he’s transcendent among songwriters and performing artists.
Have your impressions of Dylan changed over the years?
I’m a huge fan of his writing and singing, even up to the most recent original record Tempest. I love the way his voice sounds now that he’s completely blown it out, and I even find his Sinatra and Christmas records extremely enjoyable.
Do you have a favorite Dylan song or time period?
Rolling Thunder era for sure. He was on fire in every way at that point.
Have you seen Dylan live? If so, what were your impressions of the show?
I’ve seen him several times, and I can’t say I’m a huge fan of the current show of the last decade. The band is amazing, but as a front man Dylan doesn’t seem care anymore. His vocal phrasing is strange to me, detached from the rhythm and unintelligible. It’s completely different from the most recent records, all of which I enjoy. It’s an incredible band, but there are lots of incredible bands with front men that care. Just go see Dennis Brennan at the Lizard on a Wednesday, it’s a better show with a band that is easily just as good.
How has Dylan’s music affected your own songwriting and style?
I don’t think there is any single person who writes songs, stands up there with a guitar and sings them who was not been shaped by Dylan in one way or another. He is as essential and important to the American musical landscape as any single person can be, up there with Louis Armstrong, Elvis, Hank Williams, and very few others. It’s impossible not to be influenced by him, directly or indirectly.
What can your fans expect to hear from or about you in the near future?
Greg (Klyma) and I have plans to put a record with our band, “Citizen Slim”. Hopefully it will happen before the end of 2017!

< Greg Klyma | Liz Longley >

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