William Elliott Whitmore’s “Old Devils”
It may seem a bit early to start looking towards 2009, but news keeps percolating down of forthcoming albums (can you say Marc Olson and Gary Louris reunited on New West?), and it’s hard to resist diving into the future.
I’ve always had an ambivalent relationship with young Lee County, Iowa songster William Elliott Whitmore. With a voice and visage straight out of a Walker Evans photograph, Whitmore straddles the line of soulful folk and southern minstrelsy, utterly obsessed with moonshine, murder and general doom. But it’s hard to deny the pure force of his scratchy basso profundo and harrowing imagery.
Due out February 17, 2009 on Anti- Records, Animals in the Dark could be a keeper, at least judging by the stomp and percussive strum and not-so-subtle political forboding of “Old Devils,” which Anti- is offering up for free download.