I first heard about William Elliott Whitmore when I saw him open up for The Pogues and Billy Bragg at Roseland Ballroom in NYC. Looking back, what a freakin’ lineup that show was! Since then I’ve been a fan of WEW and it’s great to see how his music has evolved over the years. Started as a gravelly, deep-voice, singing dude with a banjo to more of a less gravelly, deep-voice, singing dude with a banjo & a band! At least I think he has a band, if not he’s playing a lot more instruments these days. His sound is more in line with Americana and Appalachian style music these days. There’s banjos, acoustic guitars, fiddles and more importantly, Whitmore’s soulful voice.
This is William’s first full-length of original material since 2015’s ‘Radium Death’ that was released on Anti- Records. He also released a covers album, ‘Kilonova’ back in 2018 as well. ‘I’m With You’ is fittingly released on Bloodshot Records and contains 9 new tracks from Whitmore. “Put It To Use” starts things off with banjos and a ruckus of a good time, at least musically. If you’re not stomping your feet during this, I don’t know what to tell you. “Solar Flare” is an acoustic song with Whitmore singing about how solar flares could wipe everything out electrically, a meteor could hit Earth, he could fall off his horse, you just never know what will happen. Would you be happy with the life you lead if something like that happened? It’s a beautiful song despite it sounding pretty dark.
Whitmore’s first single “My Mind Can Be Cruel to Me” is more of a straight up country western song with slide guitars and all that stuff. Definitely a stand out track. You can tell from the lyrics and style of certain songs that William is punk-influenced. You know how there was The Highwaymen as a supergroup? I think William should form a supergroup with Chuck Ragan, Jake Smith (the White Buffalo), Jon Snodgrass, Tim Barry and Reverend Peyton. Would be quite the band don’t you think? Or maybe I’m just missing The Revival Tour?
Anyway, William’s newest album is a good one and one worth listening to if you’re a fan of his music, but also twangy music in general. Maybe it’s just me, but whenever I listen to his music, I try to sing like WEW. I’m sure my family wants to kill me when I sing around the apartment like William. He’s got that style about him that’s both recognizable and distinct. ‘I’m With You’ is a fitting album for 2020 and one I’ll be listening to long after.
Bottom Line: Another top notch album from WEW!
Notable Tracks: Put It To Use, Solar Flare, My Mind Can Be Cruel to Me, I’m Here, Black Iowa Dirt