Pennsylvanian song-smith William Fitzsimmons finds healing and hope on new album.
William Fitzsimmonsâ€™ acclaimed previous releases have been detailed and agonising retellings of events however the forthcoming album â€˜Gold In The Shadowâ€™ is about Fitzsimmonsâ€™ personal regeneration in the aftermath of those experiences.
While those albums (particularly 2005â€™s â€˜Goodnightâ€™ and 2008â€™s â€˜The Sparrow And The Crowâ€™) dealt with the bleak and sombre side of inter- and intra-personal disaster â€˜Gold In The Shadowâ€™ is a work focused on healing.
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.”
Fitzsimmons describes the songs on â€˜Gold In The Shadowâ€™ 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.”
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 Williamâ€™s commitment to addressing what is always pressing and yet all too often ignored.
Fitzsimmonsâ€™ path into music came at the influence and education of his parents both of whom filled his childhood home with a myriad of instruments, sing-a-longs, and theoretical instruction.
However, far from being a mere pastime in the Fitzsimmonsâ€™ household music was a communicative necessity between William and his parents, both of whom being blind relied on the language of music to bridge the relational gap between themselves and a child who experienced the world entirely differently from them.
During his collegiate and post-graduate years Fitzsimmons left music behind in order to pursue a career in the mental health field; becoming a therapist was a long-held aspiration.
Upon completion of a Master’s Degree in counselling he worked as a therapist with the severely mentally ill for several years. It was during the latter part of his training that 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.
His earlier albums, homemade and self-produced, were expositions on both his unorthodox upbringing and his family’s disintegration during his youth. Their understated presentation and overt descriptions of relational and familial disillusionment met quickly and potently with listeners.
Very soon thereafter, still working within psychology, William found his songs spreading broadly and being featured on international television programs including Grayâ€™s Anatomy and One Tree Hill. However, the process of such revelatory writing and rumination was taking a gradual and heavy toll and during the making of the â€˜Goodnightâ€™ album Fitzsimmons saw most of the segments of his life begin to tear asunder.
Consequently Fitzsimmons’ 2008 release â€˜The Sparrow And The Crow’ was a detailed and affective retelling of the events surrounding his divorce from his wife of nearly ten years.
Written as a personal apology to her, the album was a foreboding but genuine tale of misfortune and a reconciling of the darkest point of his life and was named iTunes’ Best Folk Album of 2008. Following the release of â€˜Sparrowâ€™, William would take a moratorium from songwriting for over two years.
Gold In The Shadow represents a welcomed 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.
It is ripe with personal elements, but also represents his 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.
â€˜Gold In The Shadowâ€™
Album released March 21st 2011
On Nettwerk Records