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Therapy at The Cedar with William Fitzsimmons

Jim and Sam open with marital bliss and melty duets

Mission Bell cover

JIM AND SAM OPEN THE EVENING

On a frozen Tuesday night at The Cedar Cultural Center, in front of an intimate audience, Jim and Sam earned their applause. From the moment they stepped on stage, we saw a couple in-tune with each other, ready to perform. The stories they shared through their soft harmonies and expressive swooning commanded the attention of the room.

Jim and Sam Jan 15 The Cedar
Photo by Erin Vorpahl

Although they don’t want to be as bold to call it marital bliss, Samantha Yonack and Jim Hanft seem to write songs with ease, based on their marriage. During their introduction of “Where Are You Now“, a song about exes, they admit it’s everything unhealthy in a song. When Jim explained “Doctor Please,” a song about his father’s death, we watched their voices support each other like a virtual hug. They ended the set sharing an experience from a show at the 7th Street Entry in which they serenaded a drunk couple in the back of the venue. This led to a humorous singalong to “Saturday Night,” ending their set with some well-earned respect and applause.

William Fitzsimmons Mission Bell Tour
Mission Bell North American Tour

WILLIAM FITZSIMMONS THERAPY SESSION

It was apparent at the start of William Fitzsimmons’ set that therapists really do need therapists. He had shared this opinion with me a week earlier when discussing the North American Mission Bell Tour.

William has a degree and background as a therapist, but it’s his music that has become his best medicine. As he explained after playing “Find It In Me,” difficult subjects need to be talked about. When we don’t address them, we can become lonely.

After playing a cover of “Sweet Home Alabama,” William explains he doesn’t write happy songs because they are a waste of time. “When you’re happy you just want to be happy. I don’t feel like writing songs.”

His collection of sad songs and contrast of self-deprecating humor helps to strip down our own difficulties and look inward to heal. The live shows are a prime example of finding solace and peace by discussing these difficulties. Sitting in that venue, lamenting on mistakes, we truly are not alone anymore.

William Fitzsimmons Jan16 The Cedar
Photo by Smouse

Highlights of the evening include an auto-tuned version of “Took,” that perfectly swelled up with Adam Landry’s guitar. Fan-favorite “Everything Has Changed” shone brightly with keyboard and electric guitar. His encore of “If You Would Come Back Home,” played solo on acoustic, made full use of the venue’s sound and natural reverb. It was at the end of the show when everyone joined William on stage to perform a cover of Tom Petty’s “Learning To Fly” that captured a final moment of wisdom and medicinal advice. “I’m learning to fly but I ain’t got wings and coming down is the hardest thing.”

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William Fitzsimmons has walked down many difficult paths. We’ve been blessed to be part of his therapy throughout all of the albums. Music is a medicine, and I advise anyone struggling with life to catch one of his upcoming shows and get a dose of this.

Set List:

  1. Angela
  2. Passion Play
  3. Find It In Me
  4. 17 + Forever
  5. Everything Has Changed
  6. Centralia
  7. Sweet Home Alabama (cover)
  8. Never Really Mind
  9. Leave Her
  10. Lovely
  11. Beautiful Girl
  12. After Afterall
  13. Will Christmas Come For Me (Child Of God)
  14. Took
  15. If You Would Come Back Home
  16. Learning To Fly (cover)

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