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William Fitzsimmons Gold In The Shadow [album]

William Fitzsimmons: Gold In The Shadow Undulating rhythms and soft,
  mellow vocals crooning in low tones;
  soothing and scintillating, William
  Fitzsimmons’ Gold In The Shadow
  album is reminiscent of a gentle
  breeze over rippling water...”

HIS ACCLAIMED PREVIOUS RELEASES may have been detailed and agonising retellings of events, but Pennsylvanian songsmith William Fitzsimmons' latest album Gold In The Shadow celebrates his personal regeneration in the aftermath of those experiences.

Dealing with the bleak and sombre side of inter- and intra-personal disaster, those albums included 2005's Goodnight and 2008's The Sparrow And The Crow. Conversely, Gold In The Shadow is focused on healing and positive thoughts.

William explains: "I had reached the point where I was either going to yield to my sicknesses or engage them headlong. In either case, I could no longer continue the way I was."

Gold In The Shadow
is magical;
the roller-coaster
of agonies and
ecstasies adding a
poignancy to great
music that is
essentially gentle,
and positive

— Maggie Woods
The Fitzsimmons' home was filled with a myriad of instruments, sing-alongs and theoretical instruction and William set out on his musical path during his childhood, under the influence and education of his parents.

But far from being a mere pastime, music was a communicative necessity between William and his parents, who were both blind and relied on the language of music to bridge the relational gap between themselves and a child who experienced the world in an entirely different way from them.

During his time at college and in his post-graduate years, William pursued a career in the mental health field and music was temporarily forgotten. He had long held the aspiration of becoming a therapist and once he had completed his Master's Degree in Counselling he worked for a number of years as a therapist with the severely mentally ill.

During the latter part of his training he began to write songs as both a preparative exercise for his work in the psychiatric field and as a personal catharsis to deal with his own long-standing psychological maladies.

Since his first release in 2005, Fitzsimmons has written and recorded songs themed and embossed with matters of family history, intimate disclosure and bold confession. The rich folk music, ranging from the stark and acoustic to the voluminous and electronic, reflects William's commitment to addressing what is always pressing and yet all too often ignored.

William Fitzsimmons' earlier albums were homemade and self-produced. They were expositions on both his unorthodox upbringing and his family's disintegration during his youth — and their understated presentation and overt descriptions of relational and familial disillusionment struck a potent chord with listeners.

Not long afterwards, and while still working within psychology, William found his songs widely appreciated and being featured on international television programmes, including Gray's Anatomy and One Tree Hill. However, the process of such revelatory writing and rumination was taking a gradual and heavy toll. During the making of the Goodnight album, Fitzsimmons saw most of the segments of his life begin to tear asunder.

As a consequence, William's 2008 release The Sparrow And The Crow was a detailed, effective retelling of the events that surrounded his divorce from his wife of almost ten years, written as a personal apology to her. The album, named iTunes' Best Folk Album of 2008, was a foreboding but genuine tale of misfortune and it was a reconciling of the darkest point of his life. Following the album's release, William was to take a moratorium from songwriting for over two years.

Resonant with a yearning for a more peaceful time in life and a much more positive outlook, William's Gold In The Shadow represents a welcome musical departure, not from authenticity in writing but in the field of focus. It is a return to his pre-music therapeutic passions, but with one eye now fixated on actual and optimistic change.

Gentle and melodic, Gold In The Shadow is ripe with personal elements, but it also represents William's first foray into external perspective taking; examining the lives and psychological struggles of those around him in addition to his own. It is an acknowledgement of the shadow self and the Todestrieb (Freud's 'death instinct'); but, even still and more so, an acceptance of hope.

William's work is beautiful with poetic songwriting and velvet vocals. Melodies ripple like flowing water. Excellent folksy, ethereal harmonies enhance the delightful The Tide Pulls From The Moon, which is followed by the appealing Beautiful Girl.

We loved the slightly more upbeat The Winter From Her Leaving and Psychasthenia is a great track as are Wounded Head and What Hold. One of our favourites is the wonderful (I Will Never) Let You Break, which features Leigh Nash. Leigh has a gorgeous voice that sounds fabulous, especially when she harmonizes so well with William.

Gold In The Shadow is magical; the roller-coaster of agonies and ecstasies adding a poignancy to great music that is essentially gentle, uplifting and positive. William describes the songs on this album as "a real and long-coming confrontation with personal demons, past mistakes and the spectre of mental illness which has hovered over me for the great majority of my life".

As part of the HMV Next Big Thing, William Fitzsimmons returned to London in February (2011) to play an intimate gig with James Rhodes at the Jazz Café. Long may William continue to find the Gold In The Shadow

Pennsylvanian song-smith William Fitzsimmons finds healing and hope with a beautiful new album, Gold In The Shadow, to be released on Nettwerk Records on 11 April 2011.

Tracklisting: 1 The Tide Pulls From The Moon | 2 Beautiful Girl | 3 The Winter From Her Leaving | 4 Fade And Then Return | 5 Psychasthenia | 6 Bird Of Winter Prey | 7 Let You Break (featuring Leigh Nash) | 8 Wounded Head | 9 Tied To Me | 10 What Hold.

"Gold In The Shadow is magical; the roller-coaster of agonies and ecstasies adding a poignancy to great music that is essentially gentle, uplifting and positive" — Maggie Woods, MotorBar

"Often armed with only an acoustic guitar and his fragile voice, these trusty tools serve him well" — Q Online

"[Fitzsimmons'] loss is the listeners gain" — The Independent On Sunday

"A work of stark beauty pitched between the eggshell-fragile ruminations of the late, great Elliot Smith and the intimate musicality of Sufjan Stevens" — The Daily Mirror

"Quirky in the extreme… It's the lyrics that really bite you" — Acoustic Magazine

"The honest lyrical simplicity that Fitzsimmons offers is totally addictive to the listener" — Outline Magazine

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