William Elliott Whitmore
William Elliott Whitmore
Label: Anti Records
Genre: Other / Folk
Online: Artist Website


With a voice that sounds like the reincarnation of an old gospel preacher from the 1920s and a fascination with sin, death, and redemption to match, William Elliott Whitmore is one of the most unique artists to emerge on the Americana scene in years. The son of a farmer and raised on a horse farm on the banks of the Mississippi River outside of Keokuk, IA, Whitmore's songs have a stark universality that is sketched out with minimal instrumentation, usually just a banjo or guitar and a smattering of percussion. Whitmore is rumored to have gotten his start in the music business by working as a roadie for Iowa hardcore band Ten Grand, famous for their fast and furious 20-minute sets, and Whitmore frequently stepped in with his songs to fill out the time. His voice is the one Tom Waits has been after for years (imagine a cross between Captain Beefheart and Dock Boggs), and his folk- and blues-inflected songs feel like they've been left out in the rain for months, weathered and tightened to the snapping point. Whitmore released Hymns for the Hopeless on Southern in 2003, followed by Ashes to Dust, also on Southern, in 2005. Whitmore appeared on the 2006 compilation CD/DVD entitled Let's Be Active, along with two other artists. In 2006 he released a third album on Southern, the characteristically stark Song of the Blackbird. [AMG Steve Leggett]