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    Thursday, November 09, 2006

    That tune in the breeze: William Elliott Whitmore MP3s

    The most astute observation I’ve probably read all year is Ryan noting that William Elliott Whitmore has the kind of voice that “will make a room full of talking assholes shut up for 45 minutes and not say one word.” It’s a comment I go back to nearly every time I listen to Whitmore, and every time, I’m reminded of how right it is. This is a voice that cannot and should not be ignored, imbued with a hardscrabble hoarseness that make the downtrodden tales it delivers all that more powerful.

    Whitmore is a folk singer from Iowa that sings about an America of cornfields and horse hooves, of blue-collar struggle, spiritual searching and the inevitabilities of death and natural disaster. With that kind of focus, there are many apt comparisons waiting to be made, everything from Steinbeck to Springsteen. There’s also the fact that his new album, Song of the Blackbird, largely relies upon the banjo, whose simple strumming is so remarkably evocative. And that his spare but resonant lyrics provide yet another welcome demonstration of his rural roots. But then Whitmore opens his mouth and I too have to shut my mouth, step away from the keyboard and just listen.

    * MP3: "Dry" - William Elliott Whitmore from Song of the Blackbird
    * MP3: "One Man's Shame" - William Elliott Whitmore from Song of the Blackbird [Buy it]
    * Artist Website: William Elliott Whitmore

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