William Fitzsimmons: Big Beard, Soft Voice 

Tuesday, May 17, Neurolux

William Fitzsimmons' CD Gold in the Shadow (March 2011, Nettwerk Records) made it into the CD player because of the photo on the cover: Fitzsimmons' skull shows through a shadow of hair and tucked into a turquoise coat is a beautiful, bountiful beard that, at first glance, looks almost like a scarf.

The CD stayed in the player because of Fitzsimmons' sweet near-whisper--accompanied by banjolin, piano and even steel drum--singing poetry of struggling with a recent divorce with lyrics like, "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."

And then came the discovery of Fitzsimmons' improbable cover of Katy Perry's "I Kissed A Girl." He turned the slightly salacious pop tune into a tender ode of something unrequited.

We'll turn the CD player off long enough to hear Fitzsimmons voice--and see that beard--when he comes to Boise.

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