William Elliott Whitmore
I’m With You
An Exciting Voyage Of Country, Folk and Americana Discovery.
As regular readers know; much like my teenage years with Motown and Stax, then later with Stiff Records these days I’m always pre-disposed to anything released on the Bloodshot label.
Not everything always tickles my taste-buds; but 95% is a pretty good success rate; doncha think?
Before I received this a month or so ago I’d never actually heard of Mr Whitmore, although he has previously released 7 album (3 on Anti Records and one on *Bloodshot!) and even though his preferred instrument of choice is ……. the banjo I was still prepared to listen with an open mind (as always!).
Well, I’m glad I did; as this has been quite the voyage of discovery.
Although I shouldn’t have been; the ‘old timey’ feel of first track Put It To Use still took me by surprise. Banjo, fiddle and a grizzled vocal add together to give a Hill Country/Folk sound, which isn’t what I expect from Bloodshot ….. but why the Hell not; as it’s a bit of a dandy, now I’ve got my head around it.
Phew; William picks up his acoustic guitar on the next song, Solar Flare, and it’s nearly as clever as it’s melodious; and yes …… there is a melody and even a catchy chorus on what, to all intents and purposes is a Folk song.
For his eighth album; there’s something of a ‘sampler’ or ‘Best Of’ feel; as he never sits still, with no two songs sounding the same.
With that in mind; his distinctive worn and lived-in grizzly voice carries everything along like a wonderfully worn leather suitcase; ‘the tales it could tell’ ….. which is exactly what we get here.
I love the rambunctious Black Iowa Dirt and the toe-tapping Honky Tonk of My Mind Can Play Cruel Tricks On Me just as much as the passionate Alt. Country songs History and Save Ourselves; which is quite some feat when you take them out of context they sound as if they are by completely different acts.
Which is actually why I’ve become smitten with the whole damn album; every time I play it something new springs out to make me study his words as much as his cleverly constructed musical arrangements (even the solo acoustic songs are complicated).
This will most likely change tomorrow; and then again next week, but tonight I’m torn between two songs as my choice of Favourite.
I’m Here is the type of intricate Folk Ballad I normally associate with Rod Picott or Slaid Cleaves; and that’s high praise indeed.
The other; and I’m erring on the side of saying it is my actual Favourite Song here; is a brave choice for me as it’s played out on the banjo and a ‘talking Blues’ very much in the style of Tom Paxton; and yes MK Ultra Blues certainly is my Favourite, as it’s so very different from what I normally like …. and has really captured my imagination.
If I was to start re-discovering William Elliott Whitmore’s back catalogue, I could do worse than start with *KILONOVA (which it turns out I actually own!)
Bloodshot completists like myself are in for a nice surprise when they buy this; and I hope is existing fan base love it as much as I do; but if you are a Music Fan with a broad mind I urge you too to give this a try; I very much doubt you will be disappointed and pretty sure you’re going to find a few songs that will live in your sub-conscious for a long time to come.