Iowa’s William Elliott Whitmore returns with his seventh album of banjo and guitar-driven stories that hauntingly walk across blues, folk, country, and punk. This time Whitmore offers us 10 covers of songs that have shaped his lengthy career, and much like his own work, it’s a varied pool he draws from, including The Magnetic Fields, Johnny Cash, and Bad Religion.
It’s hard to recognize this album as strictly covers, since Whitmore’s raspy voice (think Tom Waits) and dense, soulful delivery is nothing short of distinct in a rugged folk and Americana fashion.
With only his banjo in tow, Whitmore sounds more Guthrie than Graffin on “Don’t Pray For Me,” and while several songs here are bare, others offer loud electric guitars, or in the case of “Hot Blue And Righteous” (ZZ Top), a trumpet and backing female vocals.
A fan of a great tune regardless of the genre, Whitmore’s own work mirrors the sentiment by defying classification, and these well executed re-workings are no different.