William Elliott Whitmore
City Winery, NY, NY 9.13.12
By Shawn DonohueSeptember 25, 2012
There was a sparse stage set up in front of the high end décor of City Winery in the TriBeCa section of NYC on this Thursday Night; not the type of venue one would expect for storytelling back-porch hoedown, but that is what William Elliott Whitmore brought to the city on this night. Coming straight from the fertile fields of Lee County Iowa, Whitmore walked onto the stage as the crowd waited, silently attentive, as the performer strapped on a banjo and began plucking “Bury Your Burdens In The Ground” from his newest release 2011’s Field Songs
When he concluded the clapping and cheering rang out and the night was set in motion as Whitmore grew in comfort stomping on his kick drum, urging the crowd to clap along as he “Lift My Jug” up to the sky.
Joy and honest emotion flowed from Whitmore even when he sang about death and darkness (prevalent theme’s) adding that resilient spirit that makes him an exciting artist, especially in a live freeform setting. At ease and telling stories as those spirits flowed WEW talked about blowing shit up for fun back in Iowa (“Hillbilly Experimentation”) and playing the loading dock of City Winery many years back, commenting how the main venue was “classy up in here”. While he may have needed a shower, new shirt and to drink his liquor with his pinky extended, his hearty voice and stellar songs suited the main stage perfectly.
“Hell or High Water” showcased Whitmore’s acoustic guitar playing, distinct phrasing and engaging vocals. “Don’t Need It” had the crowd hooting along as the stomps to the kick drum echoed out before “Johnny Law” got his comeuppance. Whitmore then announced he was too lazy to write a set list so he would take requests.
People shouted out songs the rest of the night as Whitmore chatted about some and played most. “There’s Hope For You” was a popular choice while the waltzing bleakness of “Pine Box” was as WEW put it a “deep cut”. “South Lee County Brew” was another rare upbeat selection; Whitmore’s cover of Bill Withers “Ain’t No Sunshine” was gorgeous while “Diggin’ My Grave” was an apocalyptic showstopper.
Whitmore mentioned this show was being filmed so perhaps a DVD will show up down the line and it would be well worth the purchase, but before then, make sure you catch this great artist when he comes a’ramblin’ near you. photo via antilabelblog