Interviews:: William Elliott Whitmore

It's getting around the time when people start posting their best-of lists. Ours is en route, but here's a sneak preview: William Whitmore's record - Songs of the Blackbird - is number one. We were ecstatic to get the chance to ask WEW a few questions, and pleasantly surprised by the answers. Banjo picking and Lupe Fiasco? Let's make this happen.

HH:: I first heard about you when I was talking to the Adam from Murder By Death. He was blown away by your performances and I've noticed the reaction from everyone you tour with seems to be the same. Were you surprised by how much these artists who you open for are into your music?
WEW:: It's good to hear when bands that you tour with enjoy your music. Murder by Death is always a hoot to tour with because they're old friends of mine and we share similar interests (booze, debauchery, pursuit of the enlargement of the soul). I love their music, I wouldn't tour with them if I didn't, so it's nice to hear the love returned. We're doing a split seven inch together soon.

HH:: When you played in Vancouver, you sat in front of only a few people by yourself and captivated the entire room, even the people drinking in the back. Do you like the feeling of being on stage with just your banjo, or would a backing band be something you'd like to try out?
WEW:: Playing by myself is what I've always done, so I'm most comfortable like that. Vancouver was a fun show because some people didn't know what to expect and I like surprising folks. Once in a great while I'll bring a band
on tour to flesh out a few songs, but I prefer the solitude. When you play by yourself there's no one to complain when you get too drunk to keep time. Yes, I admit to doing that on occasion (I regret nothing!)

HH:: You recently released the Hallways of Allways with Jenny. It's quite a different from your other material. How did you and Jenny hook up and what was the process of writing and recording with someone?
WEW:: I'm very proud of the Hallways of Always project. It was a chance try something different sonically. I used to live with Jenny Hoyston in a punk rock communal -style warehouse in Oakland, California. Her bands, Erase Errata and Paradise Island, have always brought enjoyment to me. I found out while living there that she was also into Country music and so we would spend our money and time on beer and music respectively. We always had dreams of mixing our styles and putting out a record together. It took several years but we finally did it. Jenny is one of my best friends.

HH:: You have very diverse musical influences. Most people wouldn't expect someone who plays the banjo to be into Minor Threat and Public Enemy. Are there any artists you still hope to play with?
WEW:: There's lots of great music to soak up isn't there? I've had the good fortune of having been exposed to a wide variety. Everything from Ralph Stanley to The Coup. The Coup's new record is great. Another one of my new favorites is that Lupe Fiasco record. I would love to play shows with him. My dream list of bands to tour/collaberate with would be; The Evens, Lupe Fiasco, Animal Collective, Mike Watt and Ramblin' Jack Elliott.

HH:: You spend a lot of time touring. How difficult is it to go from your home to traveling constantly to big cities? Does it make you appreciate where you live?
WEW:: I love touring. I'm a man that likes being on the move. I also love my farm and relish my time there. I have the best of both worlds.

@ 9:35 PM, texastentialist kicked the following game:

I saw WEW open for Lucero here in New York. A hell of a show and a really nice guy (who can REALLY hold his whiskey.)


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