Tuesday, August 22, 2006

William Elliot Whitmore

Every so often, we sit down and talk to artists. We like to ask them what influences their work and why. For some reason, I usually never follow up on the recommendations, leaving it for the readers to check out (read - lazy, lazy blogger). That being said, when Adam from Murder by Death recommended William Elliot Whitmore, I was intrigued.

The direct quote that hooked me, "He’s like from Mississippi, and lives in a house he built himself. He plays the banjo, and I must have seen him 60 times and every time I do, I’m still speechless." That’s not your run of the mill compliment, nor is Whitmore your run of the mill musician.

I’ve been really swept up in a heavy dose of Americana music these days, and I’m constantly going back to the WEW songs I’ve found. It’s difficult to explain the draw of Whitmore. A sparse banjo, a gravelly voice; doesn’t seem to be what most people are looking for these days.

However, if you take the time to listen, what you get is a fantastic storyteller who puts his heart and soul to his music. When it’s just his banjo and his voice, comparisons to Cash and Waits are bound to follow, but I don’t think they are fair. It’s a cop out to lump anyone with his vocal style with either musician, and sets the bar ridiculously high. Whitmore voice instantly transports you to a porch swing in the Deep South, where you see a man singing, eyes closed, unashamed of his spiritual take off the world. His style is from a time long since gone, and long since overlooked. He balances these tracks with a style that is sure to set in nicely with Ben Harper & the Blind Boys of Alabama fans. The banjo is mixed with layers of guitar, piano drums and vocals. The easiest way to describe his style? One word: uplifting (although I don't know if it's because the music or how he reminds me why I love music).

Whitmore’s about to release his new album, Songs of the Blackbird on Southern Records, and it’s already making a run for the Best-of list.

Check out some fantastic tracks:
MP3:: Take it on the Chin
MP3:: The Chariot

Posted at 1:50 PM by ack :: 0 comments

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