Saturday, December 31, 2011


I first heard singer/songwriter William Elliott Whitmore a few months ago, when I saw him open for Chris Cornell.  I was knocked out and wrote about him. He's put out a number of albums, and his latest one came out a few weeks after the show.  Field Songs is one of the best albums of 2011, and you should check it out.

The photo on the cover was taken in 1947, and these songs could have been written back then.  The whole record is just Whitmore singing and playing acoustic guitar or banjo.  But it never sounds like a folk revival, it sounds like a working class guy telling the stories that he's seen with the instruments he has at hand. If I had five minutes with Bruce Springsteen, I'd ask him if he's heard this album: he should check it out, especially before doing another solo acoustic record.  This is the album that I wish Devils & Dust was.  I liked Devils & Dust, and I liked the songs, but I feel like he was going for something like this.  I wish Bob Dylan had heard of him: he would have been perfect for The Lost Notebooks Of Hank Williams LP that came out earlier this year.

It's sparse, hard and beautiful, and certainly one of the best things I have heard this year.  Big props to Anti- Records (also home to Tom Waits) for having the balls to put this out.  

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