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William Elliott Whitmore

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, Whitmore was raised on a horse farm on the banks of the Mississippi River outside of Keokuk, Iowa. His 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. He appeared on the 2006 compilation CD/DVD entitled Let's Be Active, along with two other artists. In 2006 Whitmore released a third album on Southern, the characteristically stark (and critically acclaimed) Song of the Blackbird. Animals in the Dark followed in 2009. Whitmore toured extensively in late 2009 and for much of 2010 and saw his reputation as a songwriter increase, playing for ever larger audiences. He returned to recording in early 2011 with another stripped-down set, entitled Field Songs, which was released by Anti in July of that year. He undertook a tour with Low Anthem and James Vincent McMorrow before embarking on his own headlining tour, which took him everywhere from small clubs to folk festival stages.

But Whitmore never gave up farming. With a desire to change up his process, he began writing songs in 2013 and traveling two hours to work with producer Luke Tweedy in Iowa City over the next year and a half. The end result was Radium Death, an album that, while retaining Whitmore's hard folk roots, was fleshed out by full-on rock band arrangements. Anti released the set in March of 2015. ~ Steve Leggett
full bio

Selected Discography

x

Track List: Radium Death

1. Healing To Do

2. Civilizations

3. Trouble In Your Heart

4. A Thousand Deaths

5. Go On Home

6. Don't Strike Me Down

7. Can't Go Back

8. South Lee County Brew

9. Have Mercy

10. Ain't Gone Yet

x

Track List: Field Songs

1. Bury Your Burdens In The Ground

2. Field Song

3. Don't Need It

4. Everything Gets Gone

5. Let's Do Something Impossible

6. Get There From Here

8. Not Feeling Any Pain

x

Track List: Animals In The Dark

1. Mutiny

2. Who Stole The Soul?

3. Johnny Law

4. Old Devils

5. Hell Or High Water

6. There's Hope For You

7. Hard Times

8. Lifetime Underground

9. Let The Rain Come In

10. A Good Day To Die

x

Track List: Song Of The Blackbird

1. Dry

2. The Chariot

3. One Man's Shame

4. Rest His Soul

5. And Then The Rains Came

6. Lee County Flood

7. Take It On The Chin

8. Red Buds

9. Everyday

x

Track List: Ashes To Dust

1. Midnight

2. The Day The End Finally Came

3. When Push Comes To Love

4. Diggin' My Grave

5. The Buzzards Won't Cry

6. Sorest Of Eyes

7. Lift My Jug (Song For Hub Cale)

8. Gravel Road

9. Porchlight

Comments

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This is good stuff
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1:18 in the morn. Outside by the fire & digging it! This guy is REAL!
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Feeling him. Incredible.
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Like this artist on the first note.
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Annoying. Thumbs down
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Mr Leggett, I think you got it backwards in your first paragraph: Waits has a voice that is all his own, one that Whitmore will never have. Both William Whitmore and Tom Waits are just fine without facile comparisons.
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The Real Deal
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Amazing voice and filled with strong emotion ����
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Saw this song in the eyes of men when I was a kid.
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hillmargo1
I like his sound and style! Raw...great.
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The porch light's on, Mr. Elliott.
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Alexschordt, that is excellent! What an opportunity! :-D
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hahayeahsuck i t
Johnny Cash died so William Elliot could be born.
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Will is forever amazing- I was lucky enough to tour with him many times (both on the old tours when he was just a roadie for Ten Grand, and later after he had begun releasing records on Southern)... For lack of a better descriptor, he is "The Real Deal," straight up. Rooms full of people who had never heard him would fall silent within seconds of him beginning to play and sing- I can't recommend his music highly enough. Just so happens to be one of the more amazing human beings I've been lucky e
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sumpinwong
Recently found William, and can't get enough!
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Amazing storytelling voice.
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wipeyourpaws o n l i n e
This is the kind of album that you have a few drinks to in front of the fire pit :)
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Hit the horizon with this artist!
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Gritty, rasp-edged voice combined with exquisite lyrics and music. A true jewel!
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Love Love Love this man's voice.
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Doesn't really belong on my station but I couldn't care less. His voice makes me speechless.
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I couldn't agree more crobar1969. Tom is Tom. No reasonable comparison can conceivably be made. Actually I said much the same thing in my comment about 6 months ago, if you care to scroll down a bit...
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'His voice is the one Tom Waits has been after for years'... WRONG. Tom is Tom .
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This song makes me long for the home I have never known
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See him live if you can. He tours a lot and if you live in Iowa or the midwest he is sure to play near you in the next year or 2. I think he plays about 200 shows a year.
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Ditto, Mr. Paul. I really like this William Elliott Whitmore as well.
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I really like this guy's songs, and his voice is fantastic... However, I disagree with Mr. Steve Leggett, who wrote this article and said the following: His voice is the one Tom Waits has been after for years. To which I say: Sir, there is only ONE Tom Waits. Tom Waits is singular and unique, and his exquisite vocals can never be duplicated. Also, I'm fairly sure he is not wishing he could sound more like Mr. Whitmore, or anyone else, for that matter.
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That's my cousin!!! Whooo !!! Go Cousin Will!!
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can silence a room of the rowdiest bunch... always amazing, never disappoints, highly recommend to see him live if ever graced with the chance
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Go hawks
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This guy is great love your music bro keep telling those stories
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ironbar69
Absolutely Superb
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Just heard him on Pandora and I FUXKIN love it!
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I meet him in montrose Iowa at his sisters wedding. Very nice guy an not afraid to drink Busch light
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Heard this on Pandora. Before the song was over I had to purchase the album and am not disjointed by it
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God Bless The Blues!!!!!
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ptgldst9
8@
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William Elliott Whitmore is my hero.
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slappy1321
The bios on here are super sketch. Rarely fact, mostly opinion.
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to the person who writes the bios give facts not ur opinion...
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Right on Alex! Am I the only one old enough to remember when Tom's voice was not gravely, blah, blah, blah.
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Like!!!!
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Why have I never heard of this guy and is he still performing??
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Tom Waits is too unique to be offered as a comparison in this synopsis...s e r i o u s l y
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devanhoward2 1
@swirleynois e , who cares?
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mr leggett, sir i mean no disrespect but, no, this is not the voice tom waits has been after. similar in ways, yes. were talking apples and oranges here. whitmore is very good in his own respect, but please, tom waits is really a different story.
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Even though I'm from the south, the banjo, bluegrass and twang aren't exactly among my favorite sounds. Consider this my exception.
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Oh I like this but remember Iowa also has Greg Brown
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gailic629
They has his music on The Big C, Showtime.
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