Preview: William Elliott Whitmore

WhitmoreIt seems almost silly to attempt writing a post about anything after Craig Eley’s masterful treatise on Randy Newman (see below) but what the hell, I’ll give it a shot. So much can be said about Iowa’s new folk laureate, William Elliott Whitmore: he’s a man of the earth, a sincere crooner with a rock n’ roll heart, launching tales of the Iowa cornfields and hard living from the soul of his loosely tuned banjo. This guy can play shows with roots rockers like Dave Zollo and Greg Brown or head bangers like the Tanks and the Shadow Gov’t. It really doesn’t matter because when it comes down to it he’s going to kill yr heart with earnestly rendered tunes. But let me stop pontificating and get to the crux of the matter: in between Whitmore’s proper solo LPs, he took the time to craft an oft-overlooked mini-album of genius. I’m talking about his collaboration, Hallways of Always (2006), with Erase Errata chanteuse, Jenny Hoyston. I am convinced that no one ever heard this record except good ole’ Luke Tweedy who works at the Record Collector (he also produced it methinks) and that’s a damn shame because this worthy piece of vinyl, with its acoustic guitars, folk melodies, and out of this world synthesizers, is one of the best stitchings of the old and the new. It catapults new folk beyond its revivalist posturing, suggesting that a genre dedicated to preserving the past can also look forward. Please seek out this album folks (Luke Tweedy is waiting with copies at the Record Collector). I mention all of this to say: if a man who put out one of the most progressive folk records in the last couple of years is playing in your town you better go fucking see him live. This Saturday, Whitmore rolls into the Picador to drop his new folk science all over your dome. The show starts at rock o’ clock, so show up with a beer and a whisky and a clump of black Iowa dirt in yr pockets. Dave Zollo and that local jug band open.

Download: Jenny Hoyston and William Whitmore - You’ve Already Gone

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