William Elliott Whitmore talks upcoming album and P.O.S. Record Store Day split
William Elliott Whitmore has been playing music since the age of 13. His parents were musically inclined and he followed suit, branching away from the family horse farm in Lee County, Iowa, to play music for a living. Whitmore's travels have brought him across the globe, including as a regular performer at various Twin Cities clubs.
Whitmore's renowned for his soulful, bluesy voice, which rattles with a wisdom deeper than his thirty-two years, and stirs with organic integrity. In July, he will release Field Songs, his fifth full-length album and second for ANTI- Records. Gimme Noise got a hold of Whitmore to ask about spring flooding, his Record Store Day contribution with POS, and his upcoming record. On April 24th he'll return to St. Paul on a much larger stage, opening for Chris Cornell solo acoustic tour.
For Record Store Day you have a split 7" with POS. How did that come about? Will the song also be on your new record?
Whitmore: I've known POS for a while-- we've wanted to do this for a long time. The song will not be on the full length record.
On a similar idea as the POS split, you've played with a wide variety of artists: Billy Bragg, The Pogues, Lucero, and Converge, among others. Do you prefer to play with similarly-styled artists as yourself, or to mix up the bill?
I like to switch it up. I get to meet a variety of folks that way.
As you play to larger audiences how do you maintain the same sense of intimacy you get in a smaller club?
I try hard to connect with audiences. It's not always easy, but it's worth it.
Animals in the Dark was one of your more political releases. Is Field Songs a return to the soil, content-wise? Will it be bared-down to guitar/banjo, or full accompaniment?
Definitely a return to the soil. Just me, no one else.
Most of your songs involve a rural lifestyle, but lately you spend a lot of time travelling the globe and playing in urban centers. Is it hard to maintain that connection in your songwriting?
Being away from home makes me miss it. When I get home, I put my ideas together.
With all of the snow in the Midwest this winter, how is the spring melt going to affect Lee County? Is there a lot of flooding expected?
The rivers will definitely rise. I've got my boat ready.
The William Elliott Whitmore/POS split 7" is available at selected local record stores on Saturday April 16, 2011.
Whitmore will be playing the Fitzgerald Theatre in support of Chris Cornell on Sunday April 24th.