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William Fitzsimmons Shines on Gold in the Shadow

Singer-songwriter explores the dark depths of divorce


On his sixth album, Gold in the Shadow, William Fitzsimmons doesn't stray far from his signature sound: a heavy dose of acoustic guitar providing a slow, meditative sound perfect for listening to while wallowing in relationship misfortunes.

Fitzsimmons' voice mirrors his quiet instrumentation, singing in a near whisper to the sounds of a piano, banjolin and various percussion instruments creating an atmosphere that leads you deep inside your thoughts, and in turn, Fitzsimmons'. And that's where Fitzsimmons wants his listeners: inside their own minds. Fitzsimmons, a psychotherapist, draws inspiration from his patients as well as from his own struggles with his recent divorce, which can be heard in "The Winter From Her Leaving." Fitzsimmons sings, "Shove me out to see the sea / the quiet of December to the deep I turn / from the wreck I bless this mess / for what I can remember, your ghost I burn." But even with the melancholy lyrics, the steel-drum provides a cheerful chime that may be symbolic of a transition out of sadness and into a brighter future.

Everything on Gold in the Shadow would make Jack Johnson's laid-back style seem like fist-pumping techno house music--it's that slow. But the slow pace is essential to setting the right backdrop for his lyrical content and putting the listener into a trance-like state that is perfect for meditating on life's struggles. That's what Gold in the Shadow seems to be: Fitzsimmons' meditation on the hardships in his life with divorce at the forefront of his issues.

If your own heart is torn, Gold in the Shadow might be a needle and thread.