Mar 302011
Authors: Michael Elizabeth Sakas

In 2008, William Fitzsimmons released “The Sparrow and the Crow,” a collection of songs written about his devastating experience with divorce. Staying true to the honest yet depressing theme, the album was a follow up to 2006’s “Goodnight,” which was based on his parents’ divorce when he was young.

“The Sparrow and the Crow” contains a single uplifting song, the last of the 12 tracks.

Fitzsimmons explains that “Goodmorning” is proof that his album is hopeful. It leaves the listeners with the promise: “You will find love.”

On this singer/songwriter’s new album, “Gold in the Shadow,” his contemplative, guitar-driven sound is met with uplifting mandolins, classic violin, a dose of electronic layering and supporting vocals from Julia Stone.

But that love Fitzsimmons is looking for still seems to be out of reach.

The first track, “The Tide Pulls From the Moon,” opens the album with a dark eclectic guitar and powerful drums, added background “wooing,” and Fitzsimmons’ breathy voice. He sings, “You hide your filthy hands from all of us/Still unseen and tied/What water, these killing hands could ever clean/ Still you run.”

Besides this first song, “Gold in the Shadow” sounds uninterestingly familiar to the albums mentioned earlier. Besides some instrumental changes and the increased use of electronic textures, Fitzsimmons is still lamenting over his world ending.

More of the same isn’t necessarily bad in this case, as anyone who has experienced relationship pangs would find solace in his beautifully somber music. But after being a fan of his for the last few years, the appeal starts to wane.

What will keep fans interested is the higher level of production used for the recording of these songs, and Julia Stone’s appearance on “Let You Break” is a nice treat.

Like the title suggests, this new album holds a lot of value. But the shadow cast by past albums might make it appear less than groundbreaking for Fitzsimmons.

Music reviewer Michael Elizabeth Sakas can be reached at

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