February 20, 2009

William Elliott Whitmore - Animals In The Dark (2009)

It took me exactly 15 seconds of the song "Old Devils" to know that I loved this album. I know how ridiculous it sounds to judge an entire album on 15 seconds of one track, but to clarify, I should admit that I didn't start listening to this album blind to Whitmore's style and skills. When a friend recommended I check him out about 3 years ago, because of my passion for The White Buffalo, I listened to "Midnight" off of Ashes To Dust, and was convinced it was either an old black man singing (thinking Keb' Mo'-ish), or Tom Waits. Regrettably, at the time, Whitmore's music, for whatever reason, didn't make it into my regular rotation, and I kinda forgot how amazing he is (AND, I'm a complete idiot for missing his stop in San Francisco last month). Anyway, Animals In The Dark is a mixture of folk, americana, blues, old-timey, (my current favorite music genre/descriptive term) and soul that just captivates the shit out of me, because Whitmore's voice is a layer-cake of passion, struggle, heartbreak, enthusiasm, and grit. Everything is so simplistic on this album, its absolutely brilliant. The approach consists of Whitmore's remarkable, deep, rough, bluesy, soulful to the point of gospel, "I gargle gravel with Mark Lanegan" voice, and a guitar or banjo, occasionally accompanied by perhaps some drums, foot-stomping, organ, strings, or the like, as a rhythmic backdrop. With every listen I get more and more enamored with tracks like, "Lifetime Underground," "Hard Times," "There's Hope For You," "Who Stole The Soul," and, of course, "Old Devils."

For a video introduction to Whitmore, check out this lil video shot on his farm in Iowa.

4 Comments:

janina said...

i am with you on william elliott whitmore. i first heard him a while back on daytrotter, and seconds in i was in love. i have a school girl crush on him similar to the one i have for micah blue smaldone, and i maintain that they are the only two show-biz folks that make me weak in the knees. that video is brilliant, and only made my crush worse.

Nightrain said...

Heeeey Janina! Thanks for the comments and the Micah Blue Smaldone name drop. He's a good listen.

Also, don't worry about me moving in on your Whitmore/Smaldone turf, Neko Case just came out with an great new album, so I'm focused on movin' in on that.

Random thought: What's up with folk singers and three names?

awmercy said...

Man, I have to check this guy out.

awmercy said...

"Old Devils" and "Hell or High Water" are both pretty awesome. I love his voice. Good call.