Sunday, April 29, 2012

# 3 (TM) William Elliott Whitmore - Field Songs

William Elliott Whitmore's Iowa farmer perspective infuses darkly soulful songs with dirt underneath the fingers backbone that are delivered in an extraordinarily rich, booming cannon of a voice. Each song is a call to arms, inspring listener action and reaction. Reminds me of Jay Farrar's gift - sounding like an old soul frozen in a young man's body.

Field Songs mark time like old time spirituals, songs of faith and promise sung by slaves to try and temporarily ease their burdens. The sparse instrumentation (a gently picked banjo, a barely strummed guitar) places the focus on Whitmore's bruising vocals, and he hangs on to words like he's afraid to let them go. At 8 songs and 34 minutes, Field Songs scores a quick and decisive knockout, landing blows for the oppressed and depressed everywhere.

William Elliott Whitmore - "Let's Do Something Impossible" (from Field Songs)
William Elliott Whitmore - "Johnny Law" (from Animals in the Dark)

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