A Wayward Word's Worth

May 3, 2011

The Instruments Of William Elliott Whitmore

Filed under: Uncategorized — kylelawrence @ 2:25 pm

Heartland folkster harvests rurally rooted rhythms on current tour, upcoming album. By Kyle Mullin for Edmonton’s SEE Magazine, Thursday April 21 2011

After years of tilling fields ’til dusk, William Elliott Whitmore turned to his five strings over a decade ago to pluck new fruits from that labour, letting the land he worked on and worked with inspire him anew.

“I can’t farm commercially anymore because I’ve been on tour playin’ music,” he says in his simmering Iowa roasted drawl, about the family vocation he had to relinquish, adding that he still uses a good portion of that property to grow his own vegetables and hops for beer.  “Bein’ a farmer and bein’ a musician, they each take all your time so I had to make a choice, but that definitely informs a lot about what I write about.”

The similarities don’t end there. As he turns his husky croon toward bitter southern fried lullabies about lost love, lone men’s shame, and whiskey justice, Whitmore will sometimes strum his banjo gently like a farmer sewing seeds, but more often than not he‘ll rip away at those frets as if he has to reap a harvest by the end of the next verse.

“I kind’ve approached my banjo playing not like a bluegrass player but in a Ramones style, kind of just hitting chords and letting that carry the tune and just singing my heart out,” he says of his blistering off kilter style. “I had a pretty isolated childhood, grew up on a farm out in the middle of nowhere and I didn’t have anyone else to play guitar with and sing with. So I tried to develop a sort of self contained style where it’s just me up there, tryin’ to sound like more people than I really am.”




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