William Elliott Whitmore is a singer-songwriter/banjoist/guitarist/drum-stompin solo act from Lee County, Iowa. He has released six full-length albums that seamlessly meld country, blues, folk, and punk styles - spanning from 2003s Hymns for the Hopeless (Southern Records) to 2015s Radium Death (ANTI-). His songs are haunting, rustic, powerful, and real byproducts of living his entire life on the family farm, being involved in the hardcore-punk scene in the local community, and touring hard across the country. His seventh album Kilonova (2018) is different from everything else in his catalog.|
Whitmores first long-form release on Bloodshot Records is a collection of 10 cover songs from artists who have influenced his 15-plus-year career. Each of the tunes offers a glimpse into how his attitude and aesthetic were formed, like a series of tattoos, scars, or other time-accumulated personal markings.
Kilonova takes on a variety of musical heroes, both obvious and not, both well known and not, in a range of sonic forms. In the stark a capella take on Dock Boggs 1920s old-timey hit Country Blues, you can hear WEW at the pulpit, evangelizing the truth to his believers. The classic Harlan Howard country number Busted is updated with a swampy, bluesy version revealing a modern despair and necessary perseverance. For those who find a similarity between Whitmores voice to that of Captain Beefheart or Tom Waits, his equally erratic, demented and raspy-baritoned cover of the formers Bat Chain Puller is the perfect medicine.
But there are some surprises as well. While celebrated amongst a punk and indie rock audience as much as he is by country-folk heads, when WEW puts his unique spins on Magnetic Fields Fear of Trains and Dont Pray on Me by Bad Religion he makes the songs his own, bending their original style into the nebulous artistic nature he has created. Its punk rock without the breakneck tempos; its rock-and-roll without turning it up to 11, and on the Bill Withers 1971 original Aint No Sunshine," Whitmore is every bit as soulful and poignant without having Booker T and Donald Duck Dunn as his backing band.
William Elliott Whitmore is a sum of this albums parts, and it is clear that Kilonova comes as close to an original as a cover album can.
The Shitty Barn (View)
506 East Madison
Spring Green, WI 53588
|Dog Friendly: No|
|Wheelchair Accessible: Yes!|