Punknews.org
William Elliott Whitmore - Ashes To Dust (Cover Artwork)

William Elliott Whitmore

William Elliott Whitmore: Ashes To DustAshes To Dust (2005)
Southern

Reviewer Rating: 2
User Rating:


Contributed by: Matt_WhelihanMatt Whelihan
(others by this writer | submit your own)

With his deep, gruff delivery, casual strumming, and tales of the countryside, William Elliott Whitmore's songs sound like they could have been outtakes from the "O Brother, Where Art Thou?" soundtrack. This is boxcar-hopping, straw-chewing, moonshine-sipping folk in its simplest form. Whitmore may .
iTunes StoreAmazon


With his deep, gruff delivery, casual strumming, and tales of the countryside, William Elliott Whitmore's songs sound like they could have been outtakes from the "O Brother, Where Art Thou?" soundtrack. This is boxcar-hopping, straw-chewing, moonshine-sipping folk in its simplest form. Whitmore may be a young man, but on Ashes To Dust he sounds like a wrinkled, rocking chair veteran who spends his time outside the general store spitting tobacco and telling tales of times gone by. Unfortunately, this traditional sound is not only his trademark, but also his Achilles' heel.

Whitmore seems to do more rehashing than reinventing, and it shows. Everything from the chord progressions to his sense of melancholy can come off contrived. His Tom Waits-like croon often seems to lack conviction and his dark diatribes on Iowa and death are usually unconvincing. Instead of sounding world-weary, he just comes off melodramatic.

Where Whitmore does sound good is on songs like "Midnight," "Diggin' My Grave," and "Lift My Jug," thanks to their driving percussion that brings life into his otherwise somber tone. And while many of his lines seem to be old folk clich├ęs and forced rhymes, he can still manage some poetic fare. Lines like "Well way back in the sticks is where I feel alive / and in my rusty old 66' that won't even go 55" and "Your fistful of roadside flowers remains / Just so in a dime store vase," are subtle and eloquent in their portrayal of backwoods beauty.

Sure, I know folk is folk is folk, and its appeal is rooted in its attachment to tradition, but artists from Dylan and Springsteen to Bright Eyes and David Dondero have found ways to breathe new life into the genre.

Yes, Whitmore does know how to play folk, but his purist notions seem to be holding him back from creating something better than this.

 

 
People who liked this also liked:
Tim Barry - Rivanna JunctionCave In - Perfect Pitch BlackThese Arms Are Snakes - EasterInquisition - Revolution...I Think It's Called Inspiration [reissue]Paint It Black - ParadiseRefused - The Shape of Punk to ComeLifetime - Jersey's Best DancersAgainst Me! - is Reinventing Axl RoseLatterman - No Matter Where We Go..!Kid Dynamite - Kid Dynamite

Please login or register to post comments.What are the benefits of having a Punknews.org account?
  • Share your opinion by posting comments on the stories that interest you
  • Rate music and bands and help shape the weekly top ten
  • Let Punknews.org use your ratings to help you find bands and albums you might like
  • Customize features on the site to get the news the way you want.
Fine Print: The following comments are owned by whoever posted them. We are not respon sible for them in any way. Seriously.
SuperRad (February 3, 2007)

How dare you give this a bad review?

Anonymous (April 26, 2006)

Well, at least get the lyrics right. "You're a fistful of roadside flowers, arranged just so in a dime store vase." As for his "contrived" sense of melancholy, Will has not a contrived bone in his body. He is the genuine deal.

etwiels88 (January 10, 2006)

I didn't even bother reading this review since the score was less than 4 stars. Listen to both of his albums, they are fucking excellent

Anonymous (May 24, 2005)

Lets all pretend as if we're writing on an internet "cave", and my message just naturally echoed, as cave messages do. The interweb is a strange vast jungle, who knows what goes on, all I know is I didn't make a mistake, and could not have repeated myself, shhhh, quiet now. shhh. American Idol.
Shhh. Becker starring Ted Danson and one dude from hepcat. Shh. wyzo

Anonymous (May 24, 2005)

"I was talking about all the people when i grew up who was exactly like this guy, but never recorded a single note. Will is in no way better than them, and the only reason why you're defending him is because of the hardcore-connection he has going on. "

Will recording an album being taken as implying he is better than your friends is ridiculous. Since I will never hear your friends play, your friends talent is meaningless. I would love to hear them play, but I won't. Will and his record's quality have no relation to whether you have friends or what they do. I don't record an album because I think I discovered B flat.

And second, I still have no idea what his hardcore connection is, or could be. The one time I met him was after a show when he played for an extra 40 minutes sitting on a potted plant on the sidewalk outside the venue to 7 people.

"I was talking about all the people when i grew up who was exactly like this guy, but never recorded a single note. Will is in no way better than them, and the only reason why you're defending him is because of the hardcore-connection he has going on. "

Will recording an album being taken as implying he is better than your friends is ridiculous. Since I will never hear your friends play, your friends talent is meaningless. I would love to hear them play, but I won't. Will and his record's quality have no relation to whether you have friends or what they do. I don't record an album because I think I discovered B flat.

And second, I still have no idea what his hardcore connection is, or could be. The one time I met him was after a show when he played for an extra 40 minutes sitting on a potted plant on the sidewalk outside the venue to 7 people.

I don't review records as if they suit an end, or have a practical use. Music is impractical. Records shouldn't be reviewed on the value of their utility. So Will won't reinvent something or cause you to question the dynamics of your soul. Is it done well, is everyone involved in the right place in their heart? Okay, hate it or not, hell, hate the record cause hes an asshole, hate it for all the subjective, i have a personal opinion reasons in the world, but don't hate a record out of pride that purely exists because he has a record out and other people dont.

wyzo

Anonymous (May 23, 2005)

The album isn't nearly that bad... nor is it that great.
In all fairness, though, this isn't where I'd come for folk reviews anyway. No websites are very good with that genre. Except maybe PF, who just gives anything folk a decent review 'cause they don't know better anyway.

Anonymous (May 22, 2005)

Fuck this old creep. He molests little girls behind his woodshed.

-Chinatown

Anonymous (May 22, 2005)

listen to m. ward instead

Anonymous (May 21, 2005)

Why do I touch myself?

Anonymous (May 21, 2005)

Why do I touch myself?

Anonymous (May 21, 2005)

Score is for O Brother, Where Art Thou?

piratasmuertas (May 21, 2005)

Score is for Whitmore and Wyzo.

The hardcore connection always baffled me, but I gotta give the man props. He sounds good to me.

And no, I don't care too much for hardcore.

Anonymous (May 21, 2005)

wyzo, way to be an ass.

I never talked about springsteen, let alone bright eyes.
I was talking about all the people when i grew up who was exactly like this guy, but never recorded a single note. Will is in no way better than them, and the only reason why you're defending him is because of the hardcore-connection he has going on.

But he's not bad, he's just nothing to hype.

xmidipunkbastardx (May 21, 2005)

because you touch yourself

Anonymous (May 20, 2005)

Why is this here?

Anonymous (May 20, 2005)

this review and the comments below are worthless.

Is he using cliche folk slogans and rehashing or are you so cynical you just dont give a shit anymore.

Your spoiled brats with broadband connections, if will is like a million different guys with a guitar, where the fuck is this army and why are our urban landscapes so bland?

Bright eyes "folk" has nothing to do with this, and I dare you to go to some of the farm towns in iowa, and see if they even give a shit about bob dylan and bruce springstein. Stick to your icons and stick to your disillusion, I don't even like this record, but to shoot it down so unreasonably is just mean.

And the first person to think I'm condemning broadband connections universally gets 2 points for most predictable and calculated internet generalization tactic.
wyzo

yellowtrash (May 20, 2005)

He's a sweet guy. Gave me beers!

Anonymous (May 20, 2005)

(..continuing the last post)

I have seen him live, and he wasn't really better than any random busker littering the streets where i live.

Anonymous (May 20, 2005)

Score is for the review.

I havn't really liked your reviews before, but this one is dead-on.

As someone who've grown up with folk music and the farmlife, this guy isn't really better than any other guy with a guitar, only reason people pimp him so much is because of the hardcore-assosiation, because there's a million guys like this one.

Awesome review.

Anonymous (May 20, 2005)

See him live if you have a chance. Usally just a one man show (I think members of Ten Grand played with him before) Seeing and hear that voice come out of a 25 year young man is amazing

SawDonkey (May 20, 2005)

I can't stop listening to this album. It makes me want to sit on the back porch and drink lemmonade in 100 degree weather (while digging graves).

Anonymous (May 20, 2005)

haven't heard all of this one yet, but i can positively say you're wrong. will whitmore is amazing. and he grew up on a tiny farm in montrose, at the very southeastern tip of iowa. so he's not fake. everything he sings about are his real life experiences. his live show is one of the most gripping i've ever seen. the guy is pure magic, and this album easily deserves more than two stars.

Exclusive Streams

Sponsored


The Fest 13

Newest Reviews

Punknews.org Team

Other Places to Go